LEGAL & FINANCE: Beware 'Ostrich Attitude' on Age

The Birmingham Post (England), September 23, 2005 | Go to article overview

LEGAL & FINANCE: Beware 'Ostrich Attitude' on Age


Byline: By John Duckers Business Editor

Fewer than one in ten Midland organisations has started to make preparations for new Age Discrimination regulations, according to a survey by Black Country law firm George Green.

Partner and head of employment Tim Lang says that, although the new regulations will not come into force until October 1 next year, employment tribunals will take into account organisations' behaviour before that date.

"Once again many Midlands' companies are taking a worrying ostrich attitude towards employment issues, burying their heads in the sand and hoping they will go away. However, age discrimination is a major plank of the Government's reform of employment practice and is here to stay," said Mr Lang, who is based in George Green's Cradley Heath offices.

If employers do not act, they could face unlimited fines.

He said: "Future claimants will be able to point to things happening today to establish that their employer discriminates on the grounds of age. In line with all other types of discrimination, if proven, employment tribunals will make awards on the basis of injuries of feelings and financial losses.

"These usually amount to tens of thousands of pounds, but there is no ceiling limit, so employers should be warned."

In a region-wide survey, carried out by George Green, it was found that firms with less than 50 employees were least likely to be aware of the impending age discrimination regulations, with those with more than 500 employees most likely to have started changing working practices and culture.

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