Ageism "rife" in workplace


Ageism remains "rife" within the workplace, according to new research published just days before new age discrimination laws come into force.

A survey by the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) shows that 61 per cent of working Britons have been aware of ageist behaviour within their workplace.

In addition, 50 per cent of those questioned by the group said they were unaware that work-based age discrimination will be outlawed under new legislation which comes into effect on October 1st.

According to the EFA study, which questioned 1,000 people aged over 16, both younger and older workers are at risk of being subject to discrimination because of their age.

Almost a third (31 per cent) said that they had worked for a company where an older person performing exactly the same role as a younger employee had been paid more due to their age.

Meanwhile, 41 per cent said that they had worked somewhere where people doing the same job had been managed differently depending on their age, with almost one in four (23 per cent) claiming to have been aware of a younger person in their workplace being overlooked for promotion in favour of an older person, despite the younger employee having more experience.

Commenting, EFA director Sam Mercer said: "As our research has confirmed, ageism is endemic in our society and rife in our workplaces.

"These attitudes need to be challenged and outlawed so that they become as unacceptable as sexism or racism."

Mr Mercer added that while new age discrimination laws would help protect those who felt that had been discriminated against because of their age, the change in legislation was "just the beginning of a long journey towards tackling social prejudices".

The results of today's study reflect similar findings reported from a Help the Aged survey over the weekend, which also found that less than half of the 1,000 people it questioned were aware that the law on age discrimination was about to change.

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