Select committee to probe ageism in workplace

A Commons committee is launching a major inquiry into age discrimination in the workplace.

The employment sub-committee, chaired by Labour MP Derek Foster, will examine whether laws to combat ageism at work should be introduced.

The Government estimates that 40 per cent of the labour force will be over 45 by 2010.

MPs will take evidence from witnesses on how and to what extent older workers are treated less favourably at work.

They will look at the benefits to employers and employees of promoting age diversity and will assess how effective the Government’s code of practice, published in June 1999, has been.

The inquiry will consider whether it is justified in some circumstances to use age as a criterion when recruiting staff.

Cross-party select committees are powerful and influential. They grill witnesses at hearings before publishing authoritative reports on issues of concern. They make a series of recommendations, which ministers usually take seriously.

The employment sub-committee is calling on organisations and individuals to submit their views in writing before mid-January 2001. Hearings to take oral evidence are expected to start in January or February.

By Helena Jones

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