Young workers claim age discrimination too

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Young workers are more likely to feel their progression has been hindered because of their age compared to their older counterparts.

The finding comes in new research by YouGov for insurers Royal & Sun Alliance (R&SA).

A seventh (14 per cent) of young people, under 25 years old, felt discriminated against in the workplace due to their age and said their progression had been hindered because they were perceived as too young to take on extra responsibility. This compares to a tenth (12 per cent) of older people, over 45 years old, who felt discriminated against.

The R&SA research goes on to show that more males feel discriminated against than females due to their age. There are also regional variations with people in the North of the country most likely to be affected by age discrimination and those in the Midlands least affected.

Even though both young and old people felt discriminated against, the average age in UK companies was estimated by respondents to be 39 years old, roughly midway between the working ages of 18 and 65.

It is a common perception that the older age groups are discriminated against in the workplace, but this research shows that companies need to address the problem of under-25's getting progression opportunities whilst still accommodating the needs of older workers.

Mike Bird, underwriting manager at R&SA, said, “Many people think that age discrimination only happens to older people, but our research shows that a high number of young people feel their progression has been hindered by their age.

“This is a worry for employers, particularly with the introduction of the new Age Discrimination Regulations, which means employees can sue them for any acts of age discrimination against the young or the old.

“We expect there could be a dramatic increase in cases brought against employers for discrimination to mirror the trends in the US and Ireland when the age discrimination legislation was introduced.”

The introduction of anti-age discrimination legislation in the US resulted in a 40 per cent increase in claims with ageism cases increasing at a quicker rate than any other form of discrimination claim. In Ireland, age is now the basis of 19 per cent of all employment cases.

Meanwhile, the government has published the questionnaire for use by complainants and respondents in age discrimination cases. It can be found at: www.dti.gov.uk

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