Thursday 9 May 2002

Age Discrimination Bill 2002

The Age Discrimination (No. 2) Bill 2002 has been introduced to the House of Commons.

It contains the following provisions (applying to both employees and contract workers):
• making it unlawful to discriminate directly on grounds of age;
• making it unlawful to discriminate indirectly on grounds of age, unless objectively justified;
• making it an offence to specify an actual or preferred upper age limit in a job advertisement;
• making it unlawful to set a normal retirement age in contracts of employment, unless there is an objective justification (the example is given of a retirement age linked to an occupational pension scheme agreed between the parties)
• a defence where the age requirement is a genuine and determining occupational requirement
• imposing a duty on public authorities to promote age equality in employment practices;
• setting up an Age Equality Commission, to monitor implementation of the Act and work towards the elimination of age discrimination.
A reading of the Bill (it is a private member's bill) suggests it has been 'cut and pasted' from older discrimination legislation. For example:
• it refers throughout to 'industrial', rather than 'employment' tribunals;
• it does not contain any time limit for enforcement of rights (i.e. there is simply no reference to the normal 3-month time limit);
• however, it does use the more modern terminology for indirect discrimination, namely 'a provision, criterion or practice' rather than the older 'requirement or condition'.

Click here to see the Bill (Adobe Acrobat required).

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