AGE DISCRIMINATION WILL BE OUTLAWED BY DECEMBER

PUBLISHED: 10:13 27 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 May 2010

SURVEYS show that the most commonly cited form of employment discrimination is age bias, and that it affects workers of all ages, not just older workers. For example, older workers may be unfairly refused training or forced to retire when they wish to co

SURVEYS show that the most commonly cited form of employment discrimination is age bias, and that it affects workers of all ages, not just older workers.

For example, older workers may be unfairly refused training or forced to retire when they wish to continue work. Younger workers may receive lower pay rates and employment benefits, or be denied promotion, despite having all the relevant experience and abilities. All workers, regardless of age, should be entitled to unfair dismissal, redundancy and other employment protection rights, say the surveys.

In 1999 a Voluntary Code of Practice on tackling ageist practices at work was published by the Government, but was ignored by most employers.

However, as a result of a new European Union Directive, age discrimination in employment and training must be prohibited in the UK by the end of 2006.

Trade unions and the TUC have campaigned tirelessly against age discrimination and also for effective legislation to tackle it.

Many unions have negotiated with employers for changes to agreements on employment benefits and other issues in order to eliminate age bias.

Nevertheless, the issues are complicated. Unions are concerned that age equality legislation should not be used as an opportunity by employers to 'level-down' existing redundancy or other rights for older workers.

And current pension ages and benefits they say must be protected, while still allowing workers genuine choice and flexibility on retirement.

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