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30 April 2004

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Age Clock Starts Ticking

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 advertisements.

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."

July 2000




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