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Ageism still rife in workplace

Date 1 Oct 2007
Author The Editor

Age discrimination became unlawful a year ago today, but twelve months later, new research commissioned by The Employers Forum on Age (EFA) has found that employers are still not abiding by the rules. Last week in the bdaily we reported that the North East was dealing with differing age levels in the workplace very effectively, but the new figures paint a different picture.

The EFA research reveals that almost nine out of ten (86%) people know it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of age at work, compared to just 51% this time last year. However the survey also found that ageism is still present in the workplace, with 59% of workers claiming to have witnessed ageist behaviour in the workplace during the last twelve months alone, compared to 61% when surveyed just before the legislation came in.

Sam Mercer, Chief Executive of The Employers Forum on Age said: "It is great that awareness of age discrimination issues among British adults has increased at an impressive pace since the law was passed twelve months ago. This proves that the laws served a purpose in terms of getting ageism on the radar. However, it is bad news for those employers who are still falling well short of the required standards of practice.

Nearly one third (30%) of workers are aware of an older person getting paid more than a younger person for doing the same job. One in three see people being managed differently depending on their age, and more than a quarter said that people of a similar age to the rest of the team are recruited to ensure a good 'fit'.

Mercer said: "It is vital that we wake up to the fact that ageism affects people of all ages and is not just an issue for older people. "No employer can afford to bury their head in the sand and hope this issue will just go away."

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