Recruitment: avoiding age discrimination pitfalls

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By Danielle Ingham

Age discrimination is in the news again as high-profile claimants bring cases in the employment tribunal. Employers who discriminate on the basis of age face awards of unlimited compensation. Age discrimination in the employment field has been unlawful since 2006, currently through protections set out in the Equality Act 2010. While age may be considered by some to be ‘just a number’ — after all everyone will eventually get older — age continues to be a sensitive issue in the employment context.

Age appears to be more of an issue in particular sectors such as the media. The television and radio broadcaster Nicholas Parsons recently admitted that he had been ‘covering up’ his real age for years, fearing that the truth would harm his employment prospects. The racing pundit John McCririck is currently bringing an age discrimination claim against Channel 4, claiming he was sacked because of his age. Former Country File presenter Miriam O’Reilly won an age discrimination case against the BBC in 2011.

The recruitment process holds a number of potential pitfalls for unwary employers. So how can employers reduce the risk of discrimination complaints from disgruntled job applicants? …

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