40% Over-50s Experienced Age Discrimination At Work
New research from SunLife has revealed that nearly four out of ten people over the age of 50 have experienced age discrimination in some form or other, with 62 per cent saying they think they’ve lost out on a job because of this.
Approximately 72 per cent of those participating in the Welcome to Life After 50 campaign said they think the portrayal of their demographic in the media is negative and actually worsens the older you get.
Interestingly, as well as being directly affected by age discrimination themselves, nearly a third of those asked said they think they’ve also seen someone else being subjected to it.
Commenting on the findings, director of marketing Ian Atkinson said: “Age discrimination and ageist language continues to be a challenge for many people. At SunLife –a company that celebrates life after 50 – we welcome a focus on these issues.
“The average age in the UK is higher than it’s ever been and there are more people over 50 in the UK (around 24,440,4151) than ever too, so it’s disheartening to think that in 2018 so much ageism still abounds. It’s also very odd to see how some people discriminate against a group they hope to one day join.”
Under the Equality Act, you’re protected against age discrimination in all aspects of your work, whether it’s promotions and transfers, recruitment, training or dismissals. The legislation protects you from direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment and victimisation.
Examples of this include your boss telling you they won’t promote you because you’re too old (direct) or perhaps a training course only being offered to recent graduations and excluding older employees (indirect).
However, do remember that a company can make a decision based on a person’s age if they’re able to prove that their decision is proportionate and justified.
This will only apply in certain circumstances and it won’t mean that your employer will be able to discriminate against older employees however and whenever they like. Since the default retirement age was scrapped, employees cannot be forced to retire.
When applying for jobs, people should not be questioned about their health or disabilities during the recruitment process, apart from if a company wants to monitor diversity, if the employer needs to know if applicants have certain requirements for the selection process, or when you receive a job offer.
When a job offer has finally been made, employers are able to ask questions regarding health and disabilities in order to find out whether they’ll prevent the worker from being able to do a necessary part of the job.
If employees feel as though they have experienced direct or indirect discrimination, they should follow the grievance procedure in place at work. If the outcome isn’t the desired one, it may be necessary then to go to an employment tribunal (which must be done three months from the day of the first incident). Find out more on the Age UK website.
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