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Prestige News

The First NI Case on Age Discrimination reaches new heights - costing local business £70,000!! 

Can you afford to get it wrong!  Read on for tips and advice...
The aim of all Employment Legislation and in particular Discrimination Laws, is to ensure the fair treatment of all employees in the workplace.
To date, there are specific laws against some types of discrimination - known as unlawful discrimination.  There are laws against
•    Gender,
•    Marital Status,
•    Gender Reassignment,
•    Sexual Orientation,
•    Disability,
•    Race,
•    Religion,
•    Ethic Origin,
•    and the most recent addition to the list is Age; effective from 1 October 2006.
The reason why this regulation came into place was due to the increasing change in our society and the increasing age of the working population of the UK.  According to DirectGov, the number of people aged under 50 is set to fall by 2% by 2016 while the number aged between 50 and 69 is set to increase by 17%.  Better health standards also means that some people are choosing to work longer!
The new laws help ensure that people are no longer denied jobs , training or promotion or harrassed as a result of their age - either directly or indirectly.
The 1st NI Case on Age Discrimination; Mc Coy v James McGregor & Sons, Dixon and Aitken
This case is a useful example of how age-tainted language in Job Advertisements and Age-related questions in an interview may result in the suggestions that the age of the applicant has been taken into account in a way that can be discriminatory!
•    James McGregor & Sons, advertised a position within their company, and within this ad used the words "Youthful Enthusiasm" and referred to their focus on "drive" and "motivation".
•    Mr McCoy applied for the position, aged 58 and with more than 30years experience in the relevant field.
•    During the interview process the employer asked a number of age-related questions raising the subject of Mr McCoys age and queried his drive and motivation.
•    James McGregor and Sons, offered the jobs to two significantly less experience applicants - both 15 years younger.
The tribunal held that but for his age, Mr McCoy would probably have been selected.
Mr McCoy agreed to accept £70,000 in compensation!
So what does this mean for you the Employer?
Here are a few Tips and Advice on how to save your company £70,000 and avoid Age Discrimination within your company!
Have a look at your Terms and Conditions of Employment;  
1.    ensure that your redundancy policies dont directly  or indirectly discriminate against older workers
2.    Remove the upper and lower age limits for the entitlement of statutory redundancy pay
Recruitment and Selection
1.    Ensure that you do not impose a lower age limit when recruiting, unless this age restriction can be justified
2.    Be careful when using "Years Experience" - unless you can justify
3.    If a degree is required - name the degree rather than use term "Graduate"
4.    Be careful of the words you are using both in your Job Description, Person Specification and Job Advertisement - do they imply a candidate of a certain age! - "Lively", "Energetic", "Youthful Enthusiasm" etc
5.    Ensure that your interviewers are properly trained in Recruitment and Employment Legislation - to ensure that objectivity is maintained -  we have heard so many candidates report back on how they were asked about their plans for children, directly asked their age, reference made to their marital status etc!
If you have any queries regarding any of these issues, please contact one of the Employment Specialists at Prestige Employment Solutions Ltd.  It is better to ask than leave yourself open for a Case.


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