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Bite-size learning: Age discrimination – ‘Junior Consultant’

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In the second part of this five-part, bite-sized series, Lucy Lewis, associate in the employment and incentives department of Lewis Silkin spells out just what employers can and cannot say in recruitment advertisements.


Age Discrimination legislation comes into force on 1 October 2006. Following the introduction of the legislation it will be unlawful to discriminate against employees on the grounds of their age (unless this can be justified). This will impact on all aspects of the employment relationship from recruitment to retirement and damages for successful claims will be uncapped.

The experience of countries that already have age discrimination shows that it will be particularly important to avoid suggestions of discrimination from the wording used in job advertisements. We will be examining the sort of wording used by employers in job advertisements and explaining how that may be considered to be discriminatory over the next few weeks.

The example:
Our second example is the use of the term“…junior consultant…”

The lesson:
Employers will need to think carefully about the words which they use to describe positions. For example, the terms “junior” and “senior” are likely to come under scrutiny after the age discrimination legislation comes into force. Does “junior” suggest someone at the beginning of their career with limited responsibilities or perhaps someone who is low down in the company hierarchy? Or is it, in fact, synonymous with “young”?

Candidates wishing to bring age discrimination claims are likely to try to argue the former. Employers will need to demonstrate that the wording is not an age barrier and that the position is open to candidates of all ages.

Next week:
Next week we will look at the use of the following phrase: “…dynamic and energetic…”

Series articles:

Related items

Lucy Lewis can be contacted at: [email protected]

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Annie Hayes

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