Age discrimination to be outlawed by October (as if!)

It seems that the government has set in stone new laws in relation to age discrimination. In DTI publishes final version of age discrimination regulations (Dan Thomas, Personnel Today) you can in brief see what this involves.

The regulations include:

- ban age discrimination in terms of recruitment, promotion and training
- ban unjustified retirement ages of below 65
- remove the current age limit for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights.

They will also introduce:

- a right for employees to request working beyond retirement age and a duty on employers to consider that request
- a new requirement for employers to give at least six months' notice to employees about their intended retirement date so that individuals can plan better for retirement, and be confident that 'retirement' is not being used as cover for unfair dismissal.

All in all it appears to be the first concrete sign that the age to qualify for a state pension is set to rise with people expected to work longer. In contrast, there is little indication of how the legislation will help young people who face age discrimination too.

It's also typical of New Labour governments to use wording such as "request working beyond retirement age" instead of "insist or demand working beyond retirement age". The Employment Relations Act 1999 suffered from similar problems in that workers facing disciplinary action had the right to be accompanied and instead of a right to be represented by a trade union official. The same goes for the right to "request" information from your employer if you are a woman and feel you are being paid less a male counterpart.

Spineless legislation is all anyone can expect from a government terrified of the business lobby.

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