Small businesses under misconception of being fully compliant with age discrimination legislation could face tribunal claim

Small businesses are risking tribunals as they fail to make changes to employment policies following age discrimination laws, research has suggested.

A survey of 750 small businesses by conciliation service Acas revealed that only 17% have introduced changes to their employment and recruitment practices. Respondents said they had not made changes because they believed their organisations already complied, or that the regulations did not apply to their business.

Two-thirds of employers in the survey thought they were fairly or very well informed about the age discrimination regulations. However, fewer than 30% gave a correct response to a question about whether it is still lawful to have a retirement age.

Acas chair Rita Donaghy said: “These results are worrying as they highlight a potential timebomb in smaller companies in terms of tribunal cases. Age discrimination can affect all employees, young and old and to comply can be very simple and quick.”

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