Women and Equalities Committee report: Older Workers Failed by Weak Enforcement of Age Discrimination

The talents of more than a million people aged over 50 who want to work are being wasted because of discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices.

This is according to a July 2018 report by the Women and Equalities Committee on older people and discrimination.

Key points from the report include:

  • The Government needs to be clearer that prejudice, unconscious bias and casual ageism in the workplace are all unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
  • The employer-led nature of the Government’s approach is unlikely to present an adequate challenge to discriminatory practices or attitudes. Too little is being done to enforce the law.
  • The business case for an age-diverse workforce is clear, but employers continue to organise workplaces around an outdated, inflexible model.

Report recommendations include:

  • Government departments must ensure that policies such as flexible working by default and mid-life career reviews become standard in the terms and conditions of employment.
  • The Government and EHRC should ensure implementation and enforcement of the ‘Fuller Working Lives’ and ‘Industrial Strategy’.
  • A statutory entitlement to five days’ paid carer’s leave, and a longer period of unpaid leave, to help stop those caring for a loved one falling out of the labour market unnecessarily.
  • The EHRC must undertake urgent investigations into ways of working which are resulting in lack of retention of older workers.

Maria Miller MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee said:

Despite age discrimination in the workplace being unlawful for more than a decade, the scale and lack of enforcement uncovered by our inquiry is both alarming and totally unacceptable.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive of the EHRC said in their response to the report:

We have taken and will continue to take robust enforcement action, using all of our statutory powers, to tackle unlawful discrimination and ensure that no one is excluded from the workplace.

Read the report in full.