The Discrimination in Employment based on Age



An important aspect of the political, economic and social programmes of the member states of the European Union is full citizenship for all citizens of the Union regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religious beliefs or other potentially discriminatory factors. The effects of chronological age – defined in social terms in relation to an individual’s chosen or forced behaviour on the grounds of age – has been an issue of political, economic and social relevance since the implementation of the First Action Programme on Ageing, and culminates provisionally with the European Employment Directive (2000/78/EC). Legislation outlawing age discrimination in employment and vocational training has will thus come into force by this year the European Union come into force by 2006 at the latest. UK government policy aims to encourage older people to remain active within the workforce. This is in part recognition of the rise in longevity and the importance of living a healthy active contributory later life, but it is also to compensate for the potentially large take-up of pension benefits in the future. Saving throughout the life course and working later in life is also seen as a means of ensuring a satisfactory level of income in old age. Employers both directly and indirectly encourage however there is evidence that early withdrawal from the labour market through age discrimination. Age discrimination occurs when someone makes or sees a distinction on the basis of because of another person’s age and uses this as a basis for prejudice against and unfair treatment of the person. Across the Europe there is thus evidence that age is taken into account in recruitment policies at both ends of the age range. i. iIncreasing numbers of workers are obliged or persuaded to leave the workplace 5-15 years before the state pension age. eii. Early exit is decided on the grounds of age rather than on performance and abilities and skills needsrequirements. iii. eEarly exit for persons aged over 50 years is equivalent to permanent exit. iv. tThere is widespread employers’ practice of targeting older workers for job losses. The types of discrimination to be addressed are dDirect discrimination (less favourable treatment).