Ageism is a growing issue

Recent research shows that almost 40% of over 50s have experienced age discrimination at work. And 62% of these report that they have lost out on a job because of their age.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees on the grounds of age. It also prohibits employers from forcing employees to retire or set a retirement age (except in certain circumstances). Despite this, the survey of 50,000 over 50s by SunLife shows that ageism is rife in the workplace.

  • One respondent was told by a recruitment agency it would be ‘difficult to place her’ due to her age.
  • Another asked to be put on a training course but was told by their employer they would rather give it to someone younger to get ‘better value’.
  • Almost half believed they have been overlooked for promotion.
  • One in twenty felt they were encouraged, or forced, to retire.
  • 11% said they felt isolated and left out of team bonding exercises, social events and meetings at work.
  • One in ten has faced negative remarks about their age from colleagues.

The data is particularly worrying as the proportion of over 50s in the UK workforce is predicted to rise to over 30% by 2020. The age of retirement is also rising: to 66 by October 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028 with further increases planned. So it’s likely that the number of cases of ageism will also rise.

Help for those affected

Discrimination in the workplace is stressful and damaging and the effects can spread far beyond work and into all areas of the victim’s life. While the best course of action is to resolve the problem informally between the employee and the employer, this isn’t always possible. In these situations, Lexelle Family Legal Protection provides legal expenses cover for your clients. This includes an initial telephone discussion to establish whether or not there is a case. If the client does wish to pursue a claim at an Employment Tribunal the cover provides  for legal costs and expenses.

For more information or to discuss this in more detail please call the Lexelle team on 0114 249 3300 or email