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Lucie Mitchell

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more about Lucie Mitchell

HR tip: Is ‘old boy’ discriminatory?


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


All my life, I have referred to other men to whom I am speaking as 'old boy'. I have been told that this is age discriminatory. Is it?

Yes, it is both age and sex discriminatory, though I doubt that your use of the term will get you into Wormwood Scrubs. However, I suggest that you ask your colleagues at work if they object to you addressing them in this way. If they are comfortable with it, fine. But if someone does object, then you really must try to change. Why not address them by name? We all like the sound of our own name and it does project warmth and sincerity.

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Lucie Mitchell

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Lucie Mitchell

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