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Don't ignore rights of younger workers, ACAS warns
Acas has warned businesses that ageism is not exclusive to the older generation. From 1 October, the Age Discrimination regulations make it unlawful to discriminate against employees because of their age. Acas says there is a risk that employers may be focusing solely on how it affects their older employees.
Acas Chair Rita Donaghy said: "It's easy to forget that age discrimination can affect all employees, from the youngest to the oldest.
"Rightly, there has been a lot of publicity about older workers - but we shouldn't forget that the new legislation will require employers to change their behaviour towards the younger generation as well. It is equally unacceptable to describe someone as being 'wet behind the ears' as it is to call them 'over the hill'.
"DTI anticipates that there may be 8,000 age discrimination cases brought to UK tribunals in the first year, so employers really can't afford to go sleepwalking into this. But they should not feel they are on their own either. Acas' prime concern is to prevent the need for such cases by helping bosses to get it right in the first place.
"We provide advice and training to meet the needs of any organisation that wants help with the new requirements, whether it's about recruitment, promotion or retirement. I strongly recommend employers visit our website on www.acas.org.uk to find out how we can help them."
ACAS says there are some simple steps that companies can take to overcome age bias in the workplace:
ACAS guidance on age discrimination is available at http://www.acas.org.uk
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