Urgent need to wise up to ageism legislation

Employers could face legal claims worth £193m in the first year of
anti-ageism legislation, according to the Employers’ Forum on Age (EFA).

The figures are based on average awards for sex discrimination claims and
the likely number of claims based on experience in the US, which has similar
legislation in place.

"It is essential that all businesses carry out a policy review now to
see where age bias might be lurking," said Howard Davies, chair of the
EFA. "Many employers are under the impression the 2006 age discrimination legislation
will require only minor adjustments to recruitment and retirement policies –
but they are in for a shock."

The EFA has launched a practical ‘toolkit’ designed to help businesses audit
their practices and policies. It consists of 20 checklists covering all
employment issues, along with ’10 essential questions’.

The EFA’s 10 essential questions

– Can you justify the use of specified periods of experience in
job ads?

– Have you removed age as a redundancy selection criterion?

– Can you prove all age groups can access flexible working?

– Can you prove salaries and benefits are not age related?

– Can you monitor by age drop-out rates from each stage of
selection?

– Can you collate information from exit interviews by age?

– Do you apply the same contractual retirement age to all
employees?

– Do you monitor sickness absence rates among different age
groups?

– Do you assess graduate/fast track/management programmes for
age bias?

– Do you monitor poor performance and age profile the
individuals in question?

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