workplace law

Pendlebury Workplace Law is a specialist workplace relations and employment law legal practice based in Sydney.

Age discrimination in the workplace – 2015

A national survey by the Human Rights Commission has found that 1/3 of older job seekers abandoned their efforts after they experienced age discrimination.

The first national survey to assess the working experience of older Australians found that 1/4 of Australians aged 50 + years have experienced some form of discrimination in the last 2 years.

About 1/3 of people who had experienced age discrimination stopped looking for work as a result and almost half considered retirement or accessing their superannuation fund.

The National Prevalence Survey of Age Discrimination in the Workplace 2015 also found that:

  • 58% of those who looked for paid work reported they were a target of discrimination because of their age compared to 28% of those who worked for a wage or salary, and 26% who were self-employed;
  • 41% of those on an income of $35,000 or less reported that they experienced some form of discrimination, compared to 20% of those earning more than $150,000;
  • 32% who had participated in the workforce in the last 2 years, reported that they were aware of other workers aged 50 + years experiencing age discrimination, and of those 10% believed that it occurred all the time, and 46% said that it occurred frequently;
  • 33% of managers aged 50 + years reported that they took an employee’s age into consideration when making decisions, while 34% of managers had experienced age discrimination themselves.

The report found no significant difference found in the discrimination rates for men (24%) and women (22%).

The most prevalent forms of age discrimination reported was limiting employment/promotion/training opportunities (52%), followed by the perception of outdated skills (44%), and jokes or derogatory comments by colleagues or managers (42%).

About 90% of respondents who claimed they were the target of jokes and derogatory comments based on their age said they did not make a complaint unless specifically asked.

Significantly, of those who experienced discrimination in the last 2 years, 18% were unaware that the behaviour they had experienced was a form of age discrimination.

Roy Morgan Research conducted and reported on the results of 2,109 telephone interviews with people aged 50 + years in consultation with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

The report has been prepared as part of the the “Willingness to Work” national inquiry into employment discrimination against older Australians and the disabled.

Treasury’s 2015 ‘Intergenerational Report’, predicts a doubling of the population aged 65 and over by 2055.

Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan called the report a “benchmark against which we can measure future gains in addressing age discrimination“.

[National Prevalence Survey of Age Discrimination in the Workplace 2015]

Brooke Pendlebury
Sunday, May 10, 2015