Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Rolls Royce loses landmark age discrimination case

The Times reports today that Unite, Britain’s biggest union, today won what it hailed as a landmark ruling in one of the first cases on age discrimination to be considered by the courts.

A judge in the High Court in London ruled in favour of Unite in a legal dispute with Rolls-Royce over whether long service should be taken into account when selecting workers for redundancy.

The union hailed the ruling as setting a precedent for protecting older workers from redundancy.

What I found particularly sad about this were some of the comments that appeared online following publication. I reproduce 2 to illustrate what we are up against:

'Last in, first out' policies are fairer than discriminating against older workers in my opinion. I am 18, you can't call me biased! It's just they are somewhat less attractive to new employers as the older you get, the harder it is to learn new information, so they viewed as harder to train!"

'So the old timers have the best pensions and the most employment protection. The young, well they just have to pay the taxes to support the old people whilst not being able to afford to buy a house or save for a pension and now fired before the old! Not a long run solution is it?'

These illustrate what could be growing resentment from younger generations to what they see as onerous commitments and also the stereotyping that still exists, viz we are harder to train as we don't learn so easily. When our book is published next month look at the studies that we quote that categorically refute this.

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