It is unlawful because of age to:
- discriminate directly against anyone - unless it can be objectively justified
- discriminate indirectly against anyone - unless it can be objectively justified
- subject someone to harassment related to age
- victimise someone because of age
- discriminate against someone, in certain circumstances, after the working relationship has ended, unless objectively justified
- compulsorily retire an employee unless it can be objectively justified.
Note: Objective justification means that differences of treatment on the grounds of age can sometimes be justified; objective justification is a test that employers will have to use to substantiate any exemptions to the laws.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of their age. This includes direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. The Equality Act also removed the upper age limits on unfair dismissal and redundancy. The regulations apply to all workers, including office holders, police, barristers and partners in a business.
They also cover related areas such as membership of trade organisations, the award of qualifications, the services of careers guidance organisations, employment agencies and vocational training providers, including further and higher education institutions.
Employers should ensure they have policies in place which are designed to prevent discrimination in:
- recruitment and selection
- determining pay
- training and development
- selection for promotion
- discipline and grievances
- countering bullying and harassment.