Employers will next week start to get an idea of how employees intend to use, or abuse, the new age discrimination laws.
Statutory procedures demand 28 days breathing space before employees can lodge their grievance with an employment tribunal and head for a confrontation with their boss or prospective employer.
With age discrimination legislation coming into force at the start of the month, Monday (30 October) is the first working day that disgruntled employees who feel their age has acted as barrier at work can demand a tribunal hearing.
Richard Linskell, employment law expert and partner at Dawsons Solicitors, said: “We are not necessarily going to see a flood of claims arriving on that day, but there may be retirement-based claims at this time, where an employer has told someone they want them to retire before the age of 65.
“I think the tribunal service is probably expecting a large number of claims, not necessarily in the first month, but in the first year or two.”
The experience in Ireland, which has had age discrimination legislation in place since 1998, is a good indication of how things will play out in the UK, Linksell said. “In Ireland, roughly 20% to 30% of claims are now related to age,” he said.