The ongoing battle with age discrimination at work | LabourBlawg

The ongoing battle with age discrimination at work

by Employment Blawg on October 9, 2012

Guest employment law blog post from Orbis Solicitors who have extensive experience in employment law cases, working for both employees and employers. They also offer personal injury, debt recovery and professional negligence expertise from their offices in Lancashire.

When it comes to discrimination in the workplace, age is one of the most common factors cited. A person may feel they have not been fairly considered for a job they applied for, or passed over for a promotion because of their age. Unfortunately, statistics reveal that this situation is still a frustratingly common occurrence.

A June report from Policy Exchange found there was ‘huge bias’ against job applicants over the age of 50, particularly when it comes to those who have become unemployed and wish to break back into the world of work.

In the UK, 43% of unemployed over-50s have been unable to find employment for over a year. This is compared with just 26% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 35% of those between 25 and 49.

Age discrimination in the news

The issue of age discrimination against older workers continues to draw attention in the British media, particularly as a result of several high profile incidents involving female television presenters.

Miriam O’Reilly recently successfully took the BBC to a tribunal after she was replaced as presenter of Countryfile in 2009. Her job was given to a younger presenter. She has now lodged a further complaint after alleging that her return to work on the Crimewatch Roadshow was marred by unfair treatment.

Of course, it’s important to remember that age discrimination is by no means limited to older workers. Claire Simpson, a 21-year-old former trainee police officer, is currently suing Strathclyde Police for both age and sex discrimination.

She claims her age resulted in unfair treatment at her training college, alleging that she was asked if she had ‘brought her crayons to work’ and called ‘Little Miss PC’ by an inspector. That case is ongoing.

Age discrimination cases

If you feel you may have been discriminated against because of your age, you must file a claim within three months of the most recent incident, and ideally you should do so with an experienced employment law solicitor. These cases encompass any situation where you feel you were treated less favourably than others because of your age, and if this is proven to be true you will naturally be entitled to compensation.

It’s important to bear in mind one crucial factor regarding age discrimination. Unlike other forms of discrimination such as sex and race, age discrimination can be justified by an employer on objective grounds. The most common example of this is where a television or film company requires a young actor to play a young character, in this instance it is clearly justifiable to reject older applicants.

If you think you have a case for age discrimination, it is vital that you act quickly and enlist the help of a solicitor who will ensure proceedings continue in a timely manner, allowing you to resolve your conflict and get back to work as soon as possible. This can involve anything from agreeing a settlement to representing you in a tribunal, so it is important to choose someone you can trust.

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