(PRWEB UK) 4 October 2012
It is unlawful for goods and services providers to discriminate on the grounds of age as of the 1st of October 2012. However, the changes will still include a wide range of exemptions for certain services according to Age UK - http://ageukblog.org.uk/tag/age-discrimination-in-the-provision-of-goods-and-services/.
The Equality Act 2010 made it unlawful for a service provider to discriminate in the provision of services to the public including disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation; however companies were entitled to turn away staff on the grounds of age.
Age UK stated this latest ban on age discrimination in the provision of services is therefore the final strand of protection to come in force.
However not all age discrimination will be unlawful. There are both general and specific exemptions in the legislation as well as the ability for service providers to “objectively justify” any treatment which would otherwise be unlawful.
The amended act contains a number of exemptions including a general exemption for action authorised by other legislation which requires different treatment based on age. This would cover for example, the requirement to be 21 to hold a HGV licence and age limits in the jury service.
Further exceptions also include certain sectors of services including the financial services, holiday services, park homes and sport.
Commenting on the latest amendments to the Equality Act, employment law solicitors DSM Legal believe many retailers will unlikely need to change their practices and methods to a significant degree however companies should ensure their current policies are not vulnerable to challenge after October 1st.
Speaking on behalf of the company Diane Massey, principal of civil litigation and employment law stated, “The changes are a step in the right direction; however the specific exemptions which still apply could lead to a rise in unnecessary discrimination claims.
Service providers need to be able to provide justification for these if challenged but should not wait to claim before doing so. If practices are identified which do not fall within the exemptions, positive action provision or cannot be justified, then these changes will need to be made.”
DSM Legal specialise in a variety of legal services including all aspects of employment law and discrimination. For more information visit http://www.dsmlegal.co.uk or call 0845 009 0863.