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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.