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Tips for employers on how to prevent age discrimination in the workplace

Cases of age discrimination within the workplace are on the rise. Latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice show that cases have increased a dramatic 74%, the largest rise of any complaint. Our latest post gives tips for employers on how to prevent age discrimination in the workplace.

Just this month, a clothes designer was awarded £96,000 after being passed over for a promotion due to age. The employee who was described by her employer as ‘a low flight risk’ and ‘too old to quit’, won the case on the grounds of unfair dismissal and direct discrimination of her age.   

So, the question remains… how can employers reduce the risk of age discrimination in the workplace? 

What does age discrimination in the workplace look like? 

Age discrimination can often go unnoticed, so to prevent it, employers need to be able to spot signs of it occurring. Here are a few signs to look out for: 

  • Younger employees being automatically offered learning and skill-developing opportunities over older employees.   
  • Certain members of the team are overlooked when it comes to challenging tasks, this may also look like some employees are given an unfair share of tedious or undesirable jobs. 
  • Excluding employees in a certain age group from client meetings or social events. 
  • Insulting age related remarks and comments, this may be perceived as playful or humorous, but it could also be overtly hostile. 

Read our blog post on banter vs discrimination here for tips on how to spot and prevent workplace discrimination. 

Check your policy  

Introducing or updating your age discrimination policy is crucial. It should include examples and definitions of age discrimination, have clear reporting and grievance processes, and set out how the company is meeting its commitment to a more diverse and inclusive culture, including how it expects employees to behave. Are your senior leaders up to date with the latest employment laws? Remember, our team of HR experts are here to support and ensure you have the correct Policies in place.

Update your training 

Check your training is up to date with the latest methods and when you last trained your staff – is it regularly and as part of onboarding new employees? The training should cover topics such as, what is discrimination and harassment, and why it can be hurtful and ultimately unlawful, with the goal of bringing about real changes in behaviour and increasing knowledge.  

Make sure employees know exactly what to do if they witness or experience age discrimination, while encouraging and emphasising personal accountability. Ensuring employees are trained and educated on such matters can lead to a more positive and inclusive workplace culture. 

hr inspire’s expert team can conduct training on the subject to increase employee understanding and awareness. 

Carefully consider promotion and training 

All employees, regardless of age, should have access to advancement possibilities, job-related training, and other growth opportunities (except in cases where age restrictions are legally and objectively justifiable). Create a training environment that encourages all ages, to get involved and is appropriate for everyone to participate in.  

If you would like more advice on how to prevent age discrimination in the workplace or you are interested in our Management, Leadership and Career courses, please do get in contact with our expert HR team – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy, bringing your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department. 

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