Ageism at Work: Offering An Older Worker A Seat Could Lead to an Age Discrimination Claim

0
56
Ageism at Work: Offering An Older Worker A Seat Could Lead to an Age Discrimination Claim
Photo Credits - Annie Gray via Unsplash

Picture this: a seasoned worker with nearly two decades of experience suddenly finds himself offered a chair to sit on. This wasn’t a gesture of comfort but a subtle signal of his age. Well, that’s what one recycling plant worker believed when he claimed ageism in the workplace.

Join us as we investigate the case and discover what happened. We illuminate the conversation about workplace fairness, respect, and inclusion and explore how HR can combat age discrimination at work.

We hope you enjoy reading this employment law article. For the latest updates in the sector, subscribe to our newsletter now. Doing so will send daily notifications straight to your inbox, ensuring you never miss one of our future posts!

Offering a Chair Could Amount to Ageism in the Workplace

Filipe Edreira had worked at Severn Waste Water Service for 17 years before his employment was terminated in October 2023. The dismissal prompted the recycling plant worker to make an age discrimination claim against the employer.

He believed the events leading up to his sacking showed workplace ageism. Furthermore, he alleged the employer attempted to force him out because he was an older worker.

In his argument, Mr Edreira mentioned overhearing a colleague’s remark about the company “encouraging people to retire at 66”. During that timeframe, he also recounted being offered a chair by his employer while at work. He expressed feeling targeted, noting he was the sole recipient of such treatment and the only worker over 66.

READ: Ageism Still Rampant and Pushing Older Employees Out of the Workforce

However, the employment tribunal dismissed the age discrimination claim. The ruling stated the employer’s offer of the chair wasn’t due to ageism but stemmed from health concerns. After all, Mr Edeira had only recently had an operation and was unable to lift heavy things.

Despite this, Judge David Faulkner acknowledged that the treatment amounted to “unwanted conduct”. As such, on another given occasion, he believed this could have been discriminatory behaviour. 

Age Discrimination at Work is a Current Issue

While the worker’s age discrimination claim failed, it illuminates the escalating issue of ageism in the workplace. According to the UK Parliament, 32% of job applicants aged 50+ believe their age was key in their rejection. Moreover, 27% were deterred by job postings they felt were targeting younger applicants.

Workplace Ageism: according to the UK Parliament, 32% of job applicants aged 50+ believe their age was key in their rejection. Moreover, 27% were deterred by job postings they felt were targeting younger applicants.

This is a critical finding, as age is a protected characteristic in the Equality Act 2010. As a result, employers cannot treat individuals less favourably or place them at a disadvantage because of their age. Such treatment may manifest as employers excluding an older worker from promotions or pushing them out.

Of course, this is unless there is an objectively justified reason for the conduct, which has proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Yet, such examples are rare, and employers who breach the legislation would be open to an age discrimination claim.

HR Strategies to Tackle Ageism at Work

As workplace ageism persists as a pressing issue, it’s imperative for HR to take proactive steps to address it. Doing so ensures legal compliance and aids those unfairly disadvantaged.

First, employers could examine their hiring practices. Not only have applicants displayed doubt about the wording of job postings, but some believe their age has prevented them from securing a role. Employers must consider how they advertise vacancies to ensure they don’t present bias to one specific age group. Furthermore, they mustn’t be discouraged from hiring applicants solely because of their age.

READ: Age Discrimination Possibilities Rise as Managers Hesitate to Hire Older Employees

Next, employers should offer tailored training to their workforce. By emphasising appropriate workplace language and educating managers on avoiding discriminatory decisions, they can combat age-related stereotypes.

Finally, companies should integrate policies to complement the training they deliver. This encompasses expectations for staff, strategies for preventing age discrimination at work, and protocols for addressing misconduct. By creating and enforcing such policies, employers can foster a more inclusive workplace culture that rejects any form of age discrimination.

However, if you believe you’ve experienced ageism in the workplace, please don’t hesitate to contact Redmans Solicitors today. They are employment law specialists who will discuss your case before advising you on your possible next steps. By getting in touch with them now, you may be able to find a resolution for the injustice you’ve faced.

Before you go, remember to sign up for our newsletter. The Employment Law Review publishes the latest updates from the sector. Subscribing now ensures you never miss a future upload.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here