Forty per cent of companies are not ready for age discrimination laws

Over 40 per cent of employers have failed to train managers in how new age discrimination legislation will affect recruitment, according to a new survey carried out by Eversheds.

The firm spoke to HR directors and senior managers in 150 companies to find out how ready they were for the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, which come into force on Sunday (1 October).

Almost two in every five employers think they are at risk of an age discrimination claim, but many companies are unaware of how to tackle the new legislation.

Eversheds found that the majority of employers plan to make no change to their redundancy scheme, despite the government saying that such schemes will need to be justified under the terms of the legislation.

A quarter of the respondents said they had increased retirement age to 65 due to the new laws, but nearly a fifth (18 per cent) said they would turn down requests to work beyond 65.

While many companies are ditching the need for birth dates on application forms, 24 per cent of respondents will continue to ask for job applicants to give their birthdays.

Eversheds employment partner Audrey Williams said the recruitment process could be a “breeding ground” for potential claims, and that the new legislation will be clarified in the courts.