Employers could face an increased number of grievance hearings based on age discrimination in the near future unless they adapt their internal policies ahead of the abolition of the default retirement age (DRA).
That is according to Steve Williams, head of equality services at Acas, who has said that the way in which companies deal with the aging members of their workforce needs to be updated prior to the change in legislation.
Currently, organisations are able to force workers to retire at the age of 65 regardless of their personal circumstances, but the government earlier this year announced that this law would be scrapped altogether from October 2011 following a six-month phasing out period.
Mr Williams stated that firms "should have a performance management system in place to ensure older workers have objectives and the opportunity to identify training needs".
He concluded that not being sensitive to the fact that aging staff members are more likely to become disabled or ill could lead to them facing a compensation claim.
"It would be discrimination if an older worker was dismissed because of a newly acquired disability," added the expert.
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Posted by Richard Saunders