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Age and the law

Age and the Law section image - justice symbol scales

Discrimination law has developed over more than 40 years since the first Race Relations Act in 1965. The UK first introduced age discrimination legislation covering employment and vocational training when the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations came into force on 1 October 2006.

The Regulations covered all aspects of the employment relationship from recruitment and selection, to training, redundancy and retirement. The legislation generally made it unlawful to discriminate against a person on grounds of their age and covered direct and indirect discrimination. However there were some exemptions.

The Equality Bill was passed by Parliament and received Royal Assent in April 2010 to become the Equality Act 2010. The Equality Act brings together nine separate pieces of legislation, including the Age Regulations, into one single Act simplifying the law and strengthening it in important ways to help tackle discrimination and inequality.  It extends protection against discrimination to the provision of goods, facilities and services, and places a new duty on certain public bodies to consider socio-economic disadvantage when making strategic decisions about how to exercise their functions.

The Equality Act is likely to apply to you in several ways: as an individual, as an employment service support or training provider and, depending on your own role, as an employer, or an agent of your employer.

The TAEN website has a section on the Equality Act  (Age Legislation). It provides guides on different aspects of the Act  as the relate to age and employmnent and on how to bring a claim. There are tools that enable users to submit questions about the legislation and seek a legal view as to their prospects of bringing a successful claim. There are also sample questions to help employees and job applicants consider what they should ask an employer to obtain evidence to support an age discrimination claim. The site also provides news relating to the legislation and age discrimination cases; FAQs; and useful links to other websites providing similar information,

This site is for help and information only. It is not meant as an authoritative guide. It is not meant as an authoritative statement of the law, and future changes in the law and other programmes and initiatives could make it less accurate at times. TAEN, the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund take no responsibility for your use of the information. You should always take professional advice on any specific legal or financial matter.