Is it ever lawful for me to be discriminated against because of my age?
You have the same rights to non-discrimination as adults. These include the right to equality and freedom when it comes to race, gender, religion, colour, origin of birth and disability.
A difference in treatment may be lawful if:
- Belonging to a particular age group is essential for a job: this is called an occupational requirement. For example, a film company making a film of Oliver Twist may lawfully hire a young boy to play Oliver
- An organisation is taking positive action to encourage or develop people in an age group that is under-represented or disadvantaged in a role or activity
- Your employer has set a compulsory retirement age that it can clearly justify in respect of your role: this is known as objective justification
- The circumstances fall under one of the exceptions to the Equality Act that allow organisations to provide different treatment in employment or services based on age
- A service provider is making age-related concessions and benefits. For example, a cinema can offer over 60s cheap tickets and special screenings or a GP can offer flu jabs to over 65s