How much do you know about age discrimination law? The answers

The Age and Employment Network (TAEN) is collaborating with the American Association of Retired Persons for an global award scheme for employers with the best policies for workers over the age of 50.

For more details on these awards, which will be evaluated by an international panel of judges, visit the TAEN website. Closing date for applications: 1 May 2008.

Below are the answers to the test yourself quiz, How much do you know about age discrimination law? Click here to test yourself now



1 The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 only apply to employees, office holders and partners.

False – they cover self-employed, agency and contract workers as well.

2 The regulations cover someone’s ‘apparent’ as well as their ‘real’ age.


3 They allow employers to directly and indirectly discriminate on the grounds of age – under certain provisos.

True – either if there is a general exemption or where it can be objectively justified as being in pursuit of a legitimate aim and is proportionate.

4 The regulations include a specific exemption for ‘positive action’.


5 They require you to monitor your workforce by age.

False – it is good practice to do so but there is no requirement to do it.

6 The regulations allow the government to still use different ages as thresholds or criteria in relation to public policy.

True – the national minimum wage, New Deals, state pensions and the public funding of vocational training are all examples.

7 When recruiting staff it is now unlawful to ask for someone’s date of birth on a job application form.

False – but it is better practice to ask for it on a separate E&D monitoring form rather than on the job application form itself.

8 It is unlawful to ask for a specific number of years’ experience.

False – but it is likely to be able justify asking for fewer years rather than many.

9 It is lawful to ask for specific qualifications.

True – but some qualifications have only been available recently so asking for equivalents or proof of having worked at the necessary level are a better bet.

10 When recruiting is unlawful to use words such as ‘work hard, play hard team’, ‘fast paced’, ‘youthful enthusiasm’, ‘mature’, ‘junior’, ‘’dynamic’ or ‘senior’ in job ads and person specs

False – these words and phrases are not in themselves unlawful but Tribunals are likely to infer that they were used with discriminatory intent.

11 It is now unlawful to advertise job vacancies solely on the internet.

False – but there is a potential issue of indirect discrimination and employers are best advised to use a variety of media to advertise their job vacancies.

12 It is unlawful to expect older candidates to undertake psychometric tests or attend assessment centres as part of the recruitment process.

False – but older job candidates are less likely to have encountered such recruitment techniques and so again there is a potential issue of indirect discrimination.  Employers are best advised to describe what recruitment processes are going to be used and offer to provide candidates with examples of the sort of tests or assessments they are likely to face.

13 It is lawful to ask or expect a recruitment agency or headhunter to discriminate on your behalf.


14 Succession planning processes which do not consider candidates older than the present post-holder are likely to be viewed as discriminatory.

True – you should not assume that the best candidates to succeed the present post holder are all necessarily younger.

15 Setting minimum or maximum ages for employees to be eligible to be offered or participate in training is unlikely to be viewed as discriminatory.


16 It’s likely to be perceived as discrimination if last in, first out (LIFO) or first in, first out (FIFO) criteria are used for redundancy selection.

True – both these approaches are essentially age-based and are likely to impact certain age groups more than others.

17 Before the regulations came into effect the majority of employers in the UK operated a fixed retirement age.

False – A survey published by the DWP on ‘Employers’ policies, practices and preferences relating to age’ in March 2006 found that the majority of employers were operating without a fixed retirement age.

18 If you give less than six months’ notice of retirement to an individual coming up to their 65th birthday, you could be fined up to eight weeks’ statutory pay.


19 At present all ‘default retirement age’ tribunal claims are ‘on hold’ in Employment Tribunals in England and Wales.

True – all Tribunal claims relating to the deferred retirement age were ‘stayed’ by President of the Employment Tribunal Service for England in Wales in November pending the outcome of the ‘Heyday’ challenge.  The ‘stay’ also applies to any new claims which have been lodged subsequently.

20 The government intends to have completed and announce the outcome of its review on the Default Retirement Age on 1 October 2011 – the fifth anniversary of the regulations.

True – Civil servants at the BERR announced the timetable for the review at a meeting with external stakeholders in February this year.

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