Age aware

first_imgThe Employment Equality (Age) Regulations came into force on 1 October, 2006, providing protection from age-related discrimination in the workplace for employees and applicants alike. Now, the first Employment Tribunal case to reference the legislation has been heard and has seen a 67-year-old employee reinstated to her post.Consequently, it is worth emp-loyers refreshing their memories of the basic requirements of the regulations, so as to avoid falling foul of the law themselves, particularly since recent surveys of workers and employers have produced some interesting results; one in 10 workers claimed to have experienced age discrimination, even since the introduction of the legislation and, in contrast, employers believed they were fairly or very well informed about the legislation, even though, in an ACAS survey of 750 small businesses, less than 30% of them then responded correctly to a question about whether it is still lawful to have a retirement age.RecruitmentSome simple mistakes occur at the recruitment stage, where employers are often confused about whether they can specify how much experience they’re looking for.There is nothing in the regulations that prohibits employers requiring certain experience. However, the pitfall to beware is that “time-linked” experience is likely to be indirectly discriminatory, since, generally, only applicants who have worked for the specified period will be able to apply. The effect of this is indirect discrimination, often towards younger applicants who may not have the experience specified because they had only just left school/college and are too young to have been able to work the required period.Employers need to be able to justify the reason for the period of experience they have specified and should also be aware of “direct” age discrimination – such as specifying an age range for applicants – which is likewise unlawful unless it can be objectively justified.The only exception to an employer refusing to employ someone on grounds of age is where a person is older than, or within six months of the employer’s normal retirement age – or 65 if the employer doesn’t have a normal retirement age – as the regulations provide an exemption for that category.Another area of confusion concerns job advertisements and titles. Although many employers are now aware that words such as “youthful”, “young”, “mature” or “older” should not feature in adverts, only once Tribunals have considered more age-related cases will we have guidance on other words with possible ageist connotations, such as “dynamic”, “responsible” or “ener-getic”. In the meantime, it is sensible for employers to be mindful of the language they use in adverts and focus on the job itself.There is no case law from the English Tribunals at present, but a recent Irish case, where age dis-crimination laws have been in force for some years, is relevant here. The complainant was asked questions about his age at an early stage of the interview process, including questions on the application form such as “living with parents/renting/mortgaged accommodation”, “number of children”, “age” and “date of birth”. He provided incorrect information, arguing that the questions were “irrelevant and invasive” and was not appointed to the post, despite being suitable. He was awarded E5,000, as it was held that he had been discriminated against on grounds of his age.Since discrimination law enables an individual to bring a claim if they can demonstrate that their ’age’ may have had an impact, employers should avoid any practice where someone may ’infer’ that age was an issue, such as asking for date of birth or the sort of questions raised in the Irish case.Once in a post, employees are in a better position to assess general treatment, so it’s important for employers to treat employees fairly and to be seen doing so, and to keep good records of all aspects of the employment relationship, from adverts to interview notes and from appointment letters and contracts, to termination documents.This is particularly important where any potentially contentious matters arise, such as a disciplinary or a dismissal (including redundancy), as employees may allege that the basis for the action was the employer’s age discrimination against them. In such as case, for the employer to defend the claim, documents providing an “audit trail” of the reasons for any action or decisions taken will prove vital.Employers should inform employees on how they will deal with unacceptable employee-to-employee behaviour since, even though any victimisation or harassment might be conducted by employees themselves, it’s usually the employer who is vicariously liable for their actions.RetirementThe regulations have introduced a national default retirement age of 65, which means employers can retire employees (or set retirement ages) at or above 65 and retirements or retirement ages below the default need to be able to satisfy the test of objective justification.Irrespective of the age an employer sets, they will have to follow the ’Retirement Procedure’, the first stage of which is to notify the employee, at least six months in advance of the retirement date, of their right to request to continue working. If the employee makes such a request, they should then meet to discuss it, following which the employer should inform them of their decision, which the employee can appeal. n—-=== Summary and tips for employers ===1. Avoid using age in any aspect of an employment-related decision, wherever possible2. Consider if age – or time-linked experience – really matters to the job in question3. Confirm that reasoning is not based on assumptions about age or on preconceived ideas4. Consider whether the same aim can be achieved in another way than by using age or time-linked experience5. Imagine explaining why age or experience was relevant – having to objectively justify using such criteria – to help clarify, first, whether you need to include it and also what reasons would you give to justify inclusion6. Remove age-related questions from person specifications, job adverts and application forms; they can be included on Equal Opportunities forms7. Keep good records of interviews, offers made and rejections, training undertaken or declined, and promotions8. Check whether service- related benefits that accrue with time are discriminatory9. Ensure that redundancies are not made on the basis of age or length of service10. Ensure managers are aware of the Retirement Procedure. lBrigit Foster is an employment lawyer at Darbys LLP solicitors in Oxfordlast_img read more

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ND Dance Company to host annual showcase with COVID-19 safety precautions in place

first_imgThe Notre Dame Dance Company will host its annual showcase 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday in Washington Hall, following COVID-19 regulations.Dance Company president, senior Rachel Bartnett, noted that this is an impressive feat.“It’s been a really chaotic year with lots of back and forth on what rules can and can’t happen,” Bartnett said. “To be able to pull this off is kind of incredible. It’s kind of a miracle that we’re pulling it off.”Senior Jadrian Woods said coordinating this year’s show isn’t only notable because of the constraints of the pandemic, but because of how quickly it came together.“I’m just excited that we’re able to have a show this semester, and we were able to pull it off in six weeks, which is awesome because normally it’s anywhere from eight to 10,” Woods said.Junior Ana Tisa, a member of the Dance Company, said wearing masks has proven to be a new challenge during rehearsals.“We can’t touch each other or be close to each other,” Tisa said. “Obviously, we have to wear masks — which, surprisingly, I didn’t realize how hard it is to breathe in a mask. This is recreational; I don’t get how professional athletes are actually doing it. It must be so difficult.”Woods said there is a limit on how many dancers can be on stage at once for physical distancing purposes. Contrary to previous years, there can only be 12 or fewer dancers in each number. “Normally, we could let the choreographers have as many people as they wanted,” Woods said. “So that’s something that’s been very different this semester, but I think it’s also worked out really well because a lot more people have had more of an opportunity to dance because of that.”Dancers will need to maintain 10 feet of distance between each other at all times, as opposed to the traditional six feet. Tisa said this will change the ways the formations and interactions between dancers look this year.According to Bartnett, the audience will only be at roughly 40% capacity to allow for social distancing. Tisa said there will, however, be a livestream to allow for those who cannot attend, such as off-campus students and family members back home.Bartnett said the coronavirus has impacted the community aspect of Dance Company in both positive and negative ways. Although it can be harder to connect right now, she has seen how people go out of their way to form and maintain relationships.“[On Wednesdays], we’ve been doing dinners before rehearsal starts in either on a quad or in the dining hall,” Bartnett said. “So that’s been a really fun way for some of our new members to get to know some of the old kids. Just looking around at the tech rehearsal last night it’s very apparent that everybody seems to feel at home.”In a time of persistent change, Tisa said Dance Company has been a constant to her life.“We’re all just really excited to make this work, even though we don’t have our usual costumes and our usual audience and everything,” Tisa said. “It’s definitely been a nice sense of normalcy, a good constant semester to be like, ‘Okay, I can go dance with my friends,’ when a lot of other things have been canceled.”Tags: Dance, ND dance, ND dance company, pandemic, show, Washington Halllast_img read more

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