Local employers have been warned
that unless they start to take note of ageism in the workplace, the Government
will introduce legislation to tackle the problem.
The warning comes from Broadway
based solicitors Hegarty & Co, after Equal Opportunities Minister Margaret
Hodge's comments that unless business starts to take note of the Code of
Practice published a year ago, she will introduce legislation. The Code of
Practice on Age Diversity in Employment was introduced to tackle the problem
faced by older employees and job hunters. It states, amongst other things, that
employers should not discriminate on the ground of age - for example, by
training only their younger workers, or putting age limits in job
Tim Thompson, partner, said that
business would only have itself to blame if legislation was introduced: "A year ago, the Code was
launched with the aim of introducing good practice in the area of age
discrimination. This is perhaps the last form of discrimination yet to be
tackled, as we already have measures to combat discrimination on the ground of
race, sex and disability."
"By issuing the code, the
Government gave employers an opportunity to act voluntarily, but the evidence so
far is that few businesses have done anything positive."
The Government have hinted that
unless there are significant changes in the next year, the will consider
legislation, which will introduce a whole new raft of measures to which
employers must comply.
Tim said: "The clock is
ticking, and I suppose the last thing employers want is yet more rules and
regulations, but if they don't act on their own accord, this is exactly what
they will be faced with."