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This weekend marks 10 years since age discrimination legislation was introduced, but how have these obligations influenced how multi-generational workplaces operate? Richard Lee considers the impact of this important piece of legislation.
Ten years ago, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (later replaced by the Equality Act 2010 on 1 October 2010) were introduced, marking the beginning of greater legislative efforts to tackle the unfair treatment of UK employees of all ages.
Since then, there have been many landmark cases demonstrating that discrimination related to age remains with us in the 21st century workplace. A number of cases have also tested the robustness of the legislation, often leading to an outcome that sets a precedent for workplace policy development.
The simple use of language within some job adverts was one of the first areas to fall foul of the legislation. For example, phrases such as "youthful enthusiasm" and "candidates in the first five years of their career" were held to be age discriminatory.
The collective language, look and location of adverts has since become far more sensitive to the overall need to operate in a non-discriminatory way, but there are still examples of age discrimination in recruitment.
Protecting all ages
More broadly, the legislation should protect people of all ages, not just those at the upper and lower ends of the age spectrum.
Illustrating this is the 2009 case of a 42-year old banker who