Age Discrimination Claims Leeds

What Is Age Discrimination?


If an employee is treated unfairly or put at a disadvantage for any reason relating to their age, it is considered age discrimination. This includes behaviour due to belonging to a particular age-range, for example, 50–60-year-olds, over 50s or under 20s and could happen on a regular basis or as a single one-off act of discrimination.

Age discrimination serves to protect employees of both older age groups and younger employees. It is equally unlawful to restrict employment opportunities by imposing both lower or higher age limits unless it can be objectively justified.

There are four key areas of age discrimination

  • Direct discrimination
  • Indirect discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation

Employees are protected by regulations outlined in the Equality Act 2010 and includes all employees, including management, contract or agency workers, freelancers, self-employed staff, trainees, apprentices and also job applicants. Employees are covered within all areas of employment, training and recruitment.

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The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 guidelines are set to protect specific age groups from:

  • Dismissal
  • Employment terms and conditions
  • Pay and benefits
  • Promotions
  • Transfer opportunities
  • Training and education
  • Recruitment
  • Redundancy

The act protects employees in all areas of employment, including recruitment applications, interviews, promotions, provision of benefits, retirement, and occupational pension schemes.

An employee must not be discriminated against because of their age, by the assumption of their age (known as perceived discrimination or discrimination by perception), or by a connection to somebody of a certain age (known as associated discrimination or discrimination by association).

Specific Rights Outlined By The Equality Act

Employees are entitled to make unfair dismissal claims beyond the age of 65. Older employees hold the same rights for unfair dismissal as younger staff.

Employees are entitled to claim unfair dismissal if they are made redundant due to being older than the employer’s accepted retirement age or the default retirement age of 65. They are also entitled to the statutory minimum redundancy payment if they are over 65 or over the guideline retirement age dictated by their industry.

There are no age limits on an employee being able to claim statutory sick pay, maternity pay or paternity pay.

All employees wishing to remain in employment after the default retirement age of 65 are permitted to make an application to do so. This should be made in writing within 4 weeks of the employee’s proposed retirement date. A request can be made up to 4 weeks after the termination date but no later than that. On the receipt of the request, the employer must organise a meeting to discuss the matter, following the guidelines laid out by the Equality Act. If an employer pursues the right to retire an employee against their will, they must show objective justification.

The Equality Act is designed to protect employees from age discrimination in all areas of operation, training and education, of both younger and older employees.

Appropriate policy must be held to protect older employees against unfair redundancy. Where part-time staff are selected for redundancy because they are older than full-time workers, this can be viewed as indirect discrimination and may also be liable for prosecution.

Direct Discrimination

If an employee is treated unfairly because of their age, this is direct discrimination.Typical examples could include:

  • An employer promoting a younger member of staff despite not being as experienced or capable for the role.
  • An employer refusing access to training but allowing younger employees to attend.

Direct discrimination can take place during employment or before being employed. Age discrimination made while applying for a job, during the interview, on training courses and exercises are all liable for prosecution.Even advertisements for employment roles must be age neutral and be based on the ability and experience of the applicant.

Age-related issues should also never be raised during staff appraisals or evaluations.

Indirect Discrimination

Whenever rules or regulations set out by the employer do not appear to be discriminatory towards any employeeof a certain age,but the effect of the rules puts the employee at a disadvantage, this is indirect discrimination.

A typical example of indirect discrimination could be where a promotion policy requires an advanced level of qualification. Younger employees may not have had the time to study to the required level but may still be more than suitable for the role. Even though the policy applies to everyone, the younger employee is at a definite disadvantage.This can be seen as indirect discrimination.

Cases demanding extended durations of experience can also be seen as indirect discrimination. In situations where an employee isn’t old enough to have had the chance to work for the allotted amount of time, this could be an area liable for prosecution.

Harassment

Whenever an employee is treated in such a way to make them feel humiliated, offended or degraded because of their age, this is considered harassment. If an employee’s dignity is violated, or an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment to work in is created, this is classed as harassment and is liable under age discrimination laws.

Harassment can include:

  • Making negative remarks including bullying, mockery, making jokes or name-calling in regard to an employee’s age
  • Unwelcome discussion of the impact of the employee’s age
  • Refusing to work with an employee because of their age
  • Excluding workers from training, meetings, social events or other gatherings due to their age

Third-party harassment

The Equality Act also protects employees from behaviour directed towards them by third parties associated with the business.

These can include:

  • Clients and customers
  • Delivery operatives
  • Trainers
  • Suppliers
  • Patients

Employers must be seen to take appropriate action to prevent third-party harassment and toresolve issues that occur to the satisfaction of the employee.

If third-party harassment occurs on two separate occasions, it could be considered that appropriate steps to prevent the behaviour haven’t been made by the employer, and may be liable for prosecution.

Victimisation

When receiving unfair treatment as the result of having made a complaint about age discrimination, or helping a colleague to make a complaint of the same, this is known as victimisation.

Whenever an employee is treated unfairly because an employer, manager or other member of staff believe, or make the assumption,that an employee has made a complaint of age discrimination or has assisted another member of staff in doing the same, this is also classed as victimisation.

Objective Justification

There are certain areas of discrimination arising from an employee’s age where objective justification can be made and is not counted as unlawful behaviour.

Some typical examples could include:

  • Age appropriation for a specific role; for example, a child actor or model is required for a theatrical or television role, or to market a product aimed at a specific age group
  • If a justifiable compulsory retirement age has been initiated
  • If a specific age-related role has been created to develop an activity or employment that is under-represented, highlighting a disadvantage to society
  • An act that falls under the legislation of the Equality Act allowing businesses to offer different treatments based on age

Making An Age Discrimination Claim

Where an employee feels age discrimination has occurred, they should follow the appropriate channels and processes within the business to find an amicable solution. The first step would be to approach their manager to discuss the inappropriate action. If a suitable resolution cannot be found, then a complaint in writing should be submitted to the employer. This can act as a record if the issue is raised at an employment tribunal.

If an employee requires the matter to be taken to a tribunal, they must have followed the process defined by ACAS Early Conciliation. Their claim must be made within 3 months of the date of dismissal or the act of discrimination.

Claim Awards

A successful tribunal will declare the rights of the claimant, and require the employer to implement any required changes to avoid further issues and similar cases arising—they will also award compensation to the victim.

Awards to injury and feelings include hurt feelings, aggravated damages and injury to health. The Court of Appeal has defined guide bands to the amounts of the compensation awarded, ranging between £900 for less serious cases, to over £40,000 for the most serious. Awards will also cover loss of earnings, additional losses and money lost from interest charges.

Contact Employment Solicitors Leeds Now

You can call on 0113 4334 118 or email for an initial consultation regarding your employment position. We will offer you complete and full advice in easy to understand terms to help you to establish the most likely outcomes for your case in a relaxed and pressure-free environment.

We understand how difficult this time can be, so our expertly trained staff deliver all of our services with empathy and understanding. It is entirely up to you whether you decide to pursue your claim or not. We’re here to help you make those critical decisions backed by years of experience and industry knowledge.