Is harassment relating to age prohibited under the Equality Act 2010?
Yes. Under the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic, including age, that violates the employee's dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Where there is no intention to harass, behaviour will amount to harassment if it can reasonably be considered as having that effect, bearing in mind, in particular, the victim's perception of the conduct. Typical "ageist" comments such as "old bag" or "young slip of a thing" could amount to harassment.
The harassment does not need to be directed at the complainant, but could, for example, be directed at a colleague. Further, the victim does not have to be, or even be believed to be, the age that is the subject of the unwanted conduct. The unwanted conduct could also relate to someone else's age, for example the complainant's spouse or partner.