Editor's message: The law on age discrimination is set out in the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of age. While much of the law on age discrimination mirrors the law on discrimination on the other protected grounds, it is unique in one respect; unlike any other type of direct discrimination, direct age discrimination can be justified where it is shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
The issue of justification is also relevant in the context of retirement. Employers cannot operate a compulsory retirement procedure in respect of employees of any age unless it can be justified. The reality is that employers will be able to justify compulsory retirement at a particular age only in exceptional circumstances.
Ellie Gelder, employment law editor
Updated to reflect the average compensation awarded for age discrimination in 2016/17.
An employment tribunal has held that an estate agent administrator who resigned after she was told that she would be "better suited to a traditional estate agency" was subjected to age discrimination.
A table listing the age discrimination awards made by employment tribunals in 2016/17.
Updated to include information on BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd v McDowell, in which the EAT considered the correct approach to deciding whether or not the employer's discriminatory redundancy scheme was justified.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that, in assessing the employer's justification defence, the tribunal had failed to adopt a holistic approach and consider an age-related cap on redundancy payments within the broader context.
The UK ranks 19th out of 34 countries in terms of its employment rate of older workers, according to PwC's Golden Age Index.
Employers should commit to employing 12% more employees over the age of 50 by 2022, according to Andy Briggs, the Government's business champion for older workers.
The Supreme Court has held that claimants are not required in indirect discrimination claims to explain why the provision, criterion or practice (PCP) puts, or would put, the affected group at a particular disadvantage.
The Court of Appeal has held that the decision to reduce officer head count "to the fullest extent" by forcibly retiring police officers with 30 years' service was justified.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to age discrimination.