Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to offer different terms of employment or to treat an employee detrimentally (either directly or indirectly) on the grounds of their age. Discrimination can however be defended if it pursues a legitimate aim and is ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.
Detrimental treatment can include treating someone less favourably than others (eg. in candidature for promotion) because of their age or applying a criterion which disadvantages people of a particular age. It is also unlawful to subject someone to harassment, or allow someone to be harassed in the workplace. Harassment is the unwanted conduct that violates a person’s dignity and creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment having regard to all the circumstances including the perception of the victim.
Furthermore, it is also unlawful to victimise (or permit to be victimised) someone because they have made or intend to make a complaint or allegation or have given or intend to give evidence in relation to a complaint of discrimination on grounds of age.
Employers should review pay and other terms of employment and treatment for any age-related differences.All staff, particularly managers and supervisors, should be advised of correct non-discriminatory procedures and conduct.