Age discrimination is on the up

Age discrimination is on the up - Centric HR

The Employment Tribunal Service recently released figures that there had been a significant increase in the number of Age Discrimination cases that had been brought about in the last twelve months.  Areas where discrimination may be most likely to occur include: training, promotion, pay and terms and conditions of employment, performance management, redundancy, flexible working and recruitment. It’s therefore even more important to ensure you stay safe where Age Discrimination is concerned, here are a few top tips:

Redundancy

Employers must make sure the need for redundancies is genuine and the process for deciding who is made redundant is fair.  Employers should not select staff for redundancy solely or mainly based on ‘last in, first out’ because this is likely to discriminate against younger employees.  They must not pressurise older employees to opt for redundancy and/or retirement to help reduce the organisation’s headcount.

Retirement

The employer must not treat an employee detrimentally because they are thinking about retiring or could already take their work pension or state pension and make the mistake of thinking it has the right to change an employee’s contract once they take any pension.

Training

Employers should make sure that all of its employees, no matter what their age, are made aware of opportunities for training and personal development.  Employers should reasonably give support and encourage older employees who are reluctant to discuss their training needs for fear they will be seen as underperformers or ‘behind the times’.

Advertising roles

Be careful when advertising for roles that you don’t inadvertently place too much emphasis on length of experience, as this places younger people at a disadvantage as they are less likely to have years’ worth of experience.  Concentrate on type and breadth of experience, skills, competencies and talents.

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Sifting

When sifting candidates’ applications, ensure that you don’t ask for or consider someone’s date of birth as part of your processes.

If you can remove date of birth or age from your application forms, then you should do so.  Where you are providing Recruiting Managers with applications to sift, redact any information relating to age to avoid the possibility of discrimination.

Interview

At interviews it is important to ensure the questions being asked are focused on the candidate’s ability to do the job and the skills they hold which demonstrate that. Some common mistakes made at interviews happen when the interviewer asks questions which can be seen as discriminatory, i.e.

  • Asking when someone is aiming to retire.
  • Telling candidates, they are the oldest person being seen today.
  • Asking how they would feel about working with younger people.
  • Stating they might be too experienced for the role; or
  • Commenting that ‘1985! I wasn’t even born then

It is important to ensure that interviewers avoid unconscious bias and base decisions on facts established throughout the recruitment process. We would always advise your Recruiting Managers to keep records of decisions made throughout the process to demonstrate fairness.

If you feel your Line Managers need training on interviewing skills and avoiding the pitfalls of discrimination, or you need help with recruiting staff and would like someone else to manage the entire process from start to finish, Centric HR can help you. For more information on all of our services including age discrimination please contact us here.

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Sandra Berns

Sandra Berns

Centric HR was founded by Sandra Berns, a confident and versatile Human Resources and Organisational Development Practitioner with 25 years demonstrable experience and a Fellow of the CIPD. Sandra has both Operational and Strategic HR expertise across Public and Private sectors and has assisted senior teams in meeting challenging workforce objectives in many corporate environments.