DTI has published the official age discrimination questionnaire, which sets out how an employee can complain of alleged discrimination and how employers must respond.
From October this year, the age discrimination regulations will prohibit unjustified direct and indirect age discrimination and all harassment and victimisation on the grounds of age – whatever the age of the victim.
The new questionnaire is designed to help the alleged victim to obtain information from their employer to decide whether to bring legal action and in the event of such action to present their complaint in the most effective way.
The form warns that if the employer does not reply within eight weeks or “replies in an evasive or equivocal manner, without a reasonable excuse” a court or tribunal may “draw adverse inferences from it” if the complainant decides to bring action.
It is not obligatory to use the question and reply form and it states that “the exchange of questions and replies may be conducted, for example, by letter”.
Experts have predicted a large rise in tribunal claims when the new legislation comes in. The introduction of anti-age discrimination legislation in the US resulted in a 40% increase in claims, with ageism cases increasing at a quicker rate than any other form of discrimination claim. In Ireland, age is now the basis of 19% of all employment cases.