Age discrimination in employment

What is age discrimination in employment?

Age discrimination in employment occurs when an employee or prospective employee is subject to unfair or different treatment in respect of his or her employment on the ground of age. It may occur in the arrangements for recruitment, promotion, transfer or training, access to the terms and conditions of employment, voluntary departure or redundancy schemes, or retirement policies, and the procedures for handling complaints and grievances.

However, if measures are taken to help persons of different age groups overcome disadvantages, such as retraining course and employment services for older people to help them find suitable jobs, such measures are not age discriminatory. There is no law governing age discrimination in employment. The Labour Department has published “Practical Guidelines for Employers on Eliminating Age Discrimination in Employment” (the Guidelines), which provide suggestions to employers on how to create a fair working environment, and encourage employers and employment agencies to follow on a voluntary basis. Click here to download the Guidelines from the website of the Labour Department.

Employers should assess employees according to their ability to do a given job, not using irrelevant considerations. Therefore, the Guidelines suggest employers develop a set of consistent selection criteria that provide clear guidelines for recruitment, training, promotion, transfer, redundancy and dismissal situations as well, as the terms and conditions of employment.