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તમારા વિસ્તારમાં કોઇ કાનૂની સલાહકાર શોધો

15 Equal Opportunities

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1. Introduction

2. When discrimination can happen

3. Types of discrimination

4. Sex discrimination

5. Transgender people

6. Discrimination because you are gay or lesbian

7. Discrimination because of your religion or beliefs

8. Discrimination because of your age

Under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, it is unlawful for an employer or potential employer to discriminate against you at work because of your age. This includes:

  • deciding not to employ you;
  • dismissing you;
  • giving you worse terms and conditions at work;
  • not giving you training or a promotion; and
  • not giving you the same benefits as people of a different age.

You are also protected from harassment (see page 4) and victimisation (see page 5).

The regulations also cover work-related training.

When an employer is allowed to discriminate

In some cases, an employer is allowed to discriminate against you because of your age.

  • Your employer can justify treating you differently because of your age if they have a good business reason for doing so. For example, they might need someone to have a minimum period of experience for a job, or ask for certain qualifications.
  • An employer can refuse to employ you if you are within six months of its normal retirement age (or older than it), provided the normal retirement age is 65 or older. If the employer does not have a normal retirement age, they can refuse to employ you if you are older than 64 years and six months old.
  • Many employers award pay and benefits, such as holiday entitlement or sickness benefit, based on their employees' length of service. These 'service-related' benefits generally advantage older workers who are likely to have longer service. The regulations do not cover benefits paid during the first five years of service. Benefits based on length of service of more than five years are allowed only if your employer can prove they are for a good business reason. So, for example, it may be lawful for your employer to award you a benefit after five years' service if it reflects a greater level of experience, or to encourage your loyalty or motivation.
  • The national minimum wage has different rates for workers of different ages, so employers are allowed to pay younger workers on the national minimum wage less than older workers. See the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet 'Employment' for more about the minimum wage.
  • The amount of a statutory redundancy payment (the minimum your employer must pay you if they make you redundant), varies according to your age. And if your employer has its own redundancy payment scheme that pays more than the minimum, these payments can also in certain circumstances vary with age.
  • If your employer provides life assurance cover to workers who have retired early on ill-health grounds, they are allowed to stop this when you reach the employer's normal retirement age, or 65 if they don't have one.
  • In a very few cases your employer is allowed to discriminate if it is a 'genuine occupational requirement' that the job holder is of a particular age. For example, an actor may have to be of a certain age for a particular role.

When you must retire

The new regulations also cover retirement ages, and can protect you from being forced to retire when you don't want to. Your employer can set a normal retirement age, which must be 65 years or older. If they don't set a normal retirement age, the age is 65. Your employer cannot force you to retire if you are under 65 unless they can prove they have a good business reason for this.

Your employer must follow a set statutory retirement procedure if they want to retire you. Between six and 12 months before the date your employer wants you to retire, they must write to you telling you the date they want you to retire, and that you can ask to go on working beyond this date if you want.

If you want to carry on working beyond the retirement date, you must write asking for this between three and six months before the intended retirement date. You must say whether you want to carry on working:

  • indefinitely (without a fixed end date);
  • for a certain period; or
  • until a certain date.

If your employer does not agree to let you continue working, they must invite you to a meeting to discuss your request to do so. After the meeting, your employer must write to you telling you that your employment will continue:

  • indefinitely (with no fixed end date); or
  • for a further period, stating the date it will end.

If your employer refuses your request to carry on working, they do not have to tell you why, but they must tell you how you can appeal the decision.

If your employer doesn't tell you your intended retirement date six months before it should happen, you can still ask to carry on working at any time before you actually retire. Your employer must continue to employ you until they have completed the statutory retirement procedure, if they had planned for you to retire.

You and your employer must follow the statutory retirement procedure completely. You may be able to claim compensation if your employer does not follow the set procedure, for example by:

  • not telling you of your intended retirement date;
  • not telling you of your right to request working beyond the intended retirement date;
  • not considering your request to carry on working or not considering your request within a reasonable period;
  • not telling you that you can appeal their decision on your request to work beyond the intended retirement date; or
  • not considering your appeal or not considering your appeal within a reasonable period.

If your employer agrees to your request to carry on working, they must also follow the statutory retirement procedure when you near the extended date for retirement.

Unfair dismissal

There is no upper age limit on claiming unfair dismissal. For more information about your rights if you are dismissed or facing redundancy, see the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet, 'Employment'.

Pensions

As part of the new age discrimination regulations, there are new rules covering occupational pension schemes. For more about your entitlement to an occupational pension, see the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform leaflet 'The Impact of Age Regulations on Pension Schemes'. You can download this from the Department's website - see 'Further help' for details.

9. What you can do about discrimination

10. Dealing with discrimination at work

11. Going to an employment tribunal

12. Dealing with other types of discrimination

13. The Human Rights Act

14. Further help

15. About this leaflet


This leaflet was published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Sara Leslie

Leaflet Version: December 2007

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