New study confirms 1 in 4 older Australians experience age discrimination at work.
It’s hardly any surprise, but at least its now confirmed by research, and it’s worst for those aged between 55 and 64 years old.
A third of workers aged 50 and older (32%) also reported being aware of other people in the same age group experiencing age-based discrimination at work. Of this group, 56% of workers said they believe age discrimination in workplaces occurs all the time or frequently.
Discrimination is more prevalent for older workers looking for a new job, with 58% of survey respondents who were looking for paid work experiencing age discrimination, compared to 28% of respondents who were in paid work and 26% of those who are self-employed.
Age discrimination in Australia is against the law. The Age Discrimination Act 2004 protects individuals across Australia from discrimination on the basis of age in many areas of public life, including employment, education, accommodation and the provision of goods and services.
Employers and jobseekers/employees should be aware of the following information from humanrights.gov.au about age discrimation.
The Age Discrimination Act covers situations where you feel that, because of your age, you have been:
- refused employment
- denied a promotion, transfer or other employment-related benefits
- given less favourable terms or conditions of employment
- denied equal access to training opportunities
- selected for redundancy
It doesn’t matter if you are applying for a job, are an apprentice or trainee, on probation, work part-time or full-time, or if you are a casual or permanent employee – you are protected by the Act.
The law covers all types of employers, including the Commonwealth and state governments and the private sector.
It also covers contract and commission-based work and recruitment and employment agencies.
Employers should have policies and programs in place that aim to prevent discrimination and harassment of both young and mature age workers – in fact, all workers – in the workplace.
What to do if you have experienced or are experiencing age discrimination at work
You may bring your concern directly to your supervisor or your company’s discrimination/harassment contact officer.
You can also file a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. No fee is collected when you make complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
You must put your complaint in writing. The complaint letter should clearly describe what transpired, when and where it happened and who were the people involved. Then send the letter by fax, post, or through their website. Please refer to the following information below.
The Australian Human Rights Commission’s contact details are:
National Information Service: 1300 656 419 (local call)
TTY: 1800 620 241 (toll free)
Fax: (02) 9284 9611
Australian Human Rights Commission
GPO Box 5218
Sydney NSW 2001