Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Beware potentially ageist expressions

Businesses need to ensure they are not being ageist, either within their workplace or in how they recruit, warns law firm Dickinson Dees. Organisations allowing outdated and potentially unlawful language to be used in the workplace are placing themselves at risk of formal complaints or costly tribunals from disgruntled employees when new laws to combat age discrimination come into force this autumn. Even seemingly innocent words such as ‘mature’, ‘senior’ and ‘experienced’ could potentially be seen as ageist expressions. Although not technically illegal, such words should now be used with caution in the workplace in light of the ensuing introduction of the new legislation. The issue has been underlined by the employment case in which Ryanair was accused by the Irish Equality Authority of discriminating against older people through the use of the words ‘young’ and ‘dynamic’ in a job description. Claire-Jane Nicol, partner in the employment team at Dickinson Dees, said: “In the run up to October, employers should review a number of key areas. These include recruitment practices - the wording of adverts can be discriminatory, reviewing retirement age and ensuring that the correct response is given to those employees who exercise the new right to work beyond retirement age. Additionally, interviewers should be briefed to avoid age-related questions.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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