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Discrimination in the workplace: What is age discrimination?

by , 11 March 2014
Discrimination in the workplace comes in many forms. Now, there's something called 'age discrimination'. Read on to find out what it is and how to avoid it in your workplace.

Age discrimination in the workplace explained

Age discrimination happens when an employee is discriminated due to their age.

My Wage explains that examples of age discrimination in the workplace include situations when an employee is denied a job due to their age, or is denied access to learning or training based on their age or is forced to take early retirement based on their age.

The site goes on to say that surveys have shown that age discrimination is rife in recruitment.

Some experts refer to this kind of discrimination as 'ageism'.

Smart Manager reports that age discrimination rates highly on the list of most common workplace complaints.

The site adds that 'many older job hunters, especially above 40, see ageism as their biggest problem when looking for jobs or working towards a promotion or a position of authority. Surveys regularly find that a huge number of people believe they have been victims of ageism.'


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Now the big question is: Is age discrimination legal?

The answer to this is a big 'NO'. You aren't allowed to hire an employee based on their age.

'A candidate's relevant experience is all that's required in a job application. This protects both young professionals as well as older more matured workers from being discriminated against,' says My Wage.

The site goes on to say that age should have no bearing on an employee's ability to perform their job. Provided they're able and fit to perform the required tasks, all that applies is their level of experience.

Important: The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) prohibits age discrimination.

My Wage explains that the BCEA clearly states that 'no person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including age …'

The bottom line: Discrimination shouldn't have a place in your company. If you allow it, you'll face all sorts of legal disputes. So don't discriminate employees based on their age.

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