TAEN call for Age audits to be included in the Equality Bill

TAEN call for Age audits to be included in the Equality Bill

19th October 2009

Chris Ball of The Age and Employment Network has called for age audits to be included in the forthcoming Equality Bill. Speaking to human resources magazine Personnel Today the Chief Executive stressed that age audits should become a mandatory part of annual reports to encourage employers to think more seriously about age issues.

Year on year survey results revealed by TAEN at the Equality Human Rights Commission’s “Just Ageing Seminar” showed that the number of people who believed employers viewed them as too old for a vacancy had risen from 63% in 2008 to 72%. Furthermore the number of over-50s reporting that they felt they had experienced age discrimination in the workplace or in seeking employment also rose from last year by 5% to 55%.

Mr Ball suggests to tackle age inequality audits were necessary and could start with FTSE 100 companies, furthermore a provision could be made in the Single Equality Bill.

Gender Pay Audits are currently encouraged by the forthcoming Single Equality legislation proposals, with a further provision to enforce gender pay audits in 2013.  Age Audits could be an extension of current provisions, which may also not be difficult for an organisation to include in their compliance programmes with enough notice.

Clearly the issue needs addressing, but are more audits the answer? It’s thought while such audits would surface an organisation’s age diversity success or failures, it would do little to discourage age discrimination. Even if such a clause was made successfully it would be hard to justify not including for other equality strands in audits such as race and sexual diversity, where would the line be drawn?

Equality work could eventually become an auditing process, which is far more reactive than looking at the issues that cause inequality in the first place. With a strain on getting the Equality Bill enacted as law in time, it is unlikely such a provision could be considered in any case. The very question however evokes good debate on how far we take auditing in equality work.


posted by

Asif Yusuf



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