Essential points

  • It is unlawful to discriminate against someone because they possess one of the ‘protected characteristics’ defined in the Equality Act 2010. Age is one of those protected characteristics.
  • Age discrimination encompasses discrimination against people of all ages (in other words, whether they are older or younger) and at all stages of the employment cycle: recruitment, promotion, employment, terms and conditions, redundancy and dismissal or termination. 
  • Workers and employees are protected under the Equality Act 2010 as are consultants, office holders and partners. 
  • Direct, indirect, victimisation and harassment are all forms of age discrimination in employment which are prohibited. 
  • Direct and indirect age discrimination can be justified if the treatment or provision criterion or practice is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The ability in law to justify direct age discrimination is unusual and is in contrast to other forms of discrimination where usually only indirect discrimination can be justified.

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While every care has been taken in compiling this content, the CIPD cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. These notes are not intended to be a substitute for specific legal advice. 

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