What Is the Age Discrimination Act of 2006?

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What Is the Age Discrimination Act of 2006?
Older workers are becoming increasingly common in the modern workforce. (elderly woman image by Anna Chelnokova from Fotolia.com)

The Age Discrimination Act of 2006 is legislation passed by the UK parliament in London. It is intended to discourage ageism in the workplace; in other words, the discrimination against persons on the basis of their age. Instead, all employment decisions must be passed on competencies and skills.

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Retirement Age

The retirement age in the UK is 65. Under the 2006 Act, workers have the right to request to continue working beyond the retirement age. Employers must honour this request unless there are legitimate reasons to insist on retirement. Employers must follow a particular procedure when considering a request to continue working beyond the retirement age, or risk consequences.

Workers Covered

Though the Act is specifically intended to protect the older members of the workforce, all workers are covered by the Age Discrimination Act of 2006 because the act disallows using age as a basis for employment decisions. According to the human resources website Personnel Today, there is ample evidence that businesses benefit from having age diversity in the workplace.

Time to Bring a Claim

If an employee suspects he has been the victim of an act of ageism, a claim must be brought within three months of the alleged act. But if the claim is against an institution of higher education or further education in the county or sheriff court within six months of the act. For acts brought into the county or sheriff court, a BERR Questionnaire must be served on the employee prior to the court proceedings, or later with leave of the court.

Bringing a Claim

To bring a claim for age discrimination under the Act in the employment tribunal, the aggrieved employee must complete a BERR Questionnaire, and it must be served on the employer either prior to placing the complaint with the employment tribunal or within 21 days of doing so. The employee's answers to the questionnaire must be unequivocal and not evasive or else the tribunal can draw adverse inferences against the employee.

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