David Harris discusses Age Discrimination on BBC Radio Berkshire

David Harris was interviewed by Phil Kennedy of BBC Radio Berkshire about a recent case where Eileen Jolly, an 88-year-old employee, won her claim of age discrimination against The Royal Berkshire Hospital.

You can listen to the interview here:


Age discrimination happens when someone is unfairly treated or disadvantaged for reasons relating to their age. It has been unlawful in the UK since 2006. The law is currently set out in the Equality Act 2010. People of all ages can be affected, including younger and older workers, but the growing number of older people in employment makes this group a key focus of age discrimination.

There is a lot of guidance available for employers and employees about what can be considered age discrimination, but there can still be uncertainty among some employers about what is or isn’t acceptable. There is often confusion around the law and retirement in particular. A common misconception is that there is a compulsory retirement age – there isn’t, and an employer must not assume an employee is retiring, suggest they retire or try to force them to do so.

This means that in most cases employees can decide for themselves when they will stop working. Employers also need to be careful that ‘office banter’ does not cross the line and become offensive. Derogatory and abusive comments relating to age are likely to be discriminatory.

Even supposedly innocent comments in birthday cards could be considered offensive and be classed as age discrimination. In cases of discrimination, how the recipient perceives the words matters more than the intention of the person in saying them.

You can find out more about age discrimination in the workplace here: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1841 You can listen to the whole Phil Kennedy show here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06z2sxf. You can read more about the case of Eileen Jolly V Royal Berkshire Hospital here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/06/sacked-88-year-old-hospital-secretary-becomes-oldest-person/

Author David Harris, Managing Partner & Founder See David’s Full Bio Here.

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