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How Old Are You?

15/05/2018

How old are you is a sensitive question......

Ohcul have just read about ageism discrimination published by the Independent.

This is an excerpt from their article:

The Equality Act 2010 made it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of age. According to the act, there are four types of discrimination. Three are described as “direct”. They include treating someone “less favourably” because of their actual age, their perceived age or the age of someone with whom they associate. You can’t “joke” about age either.

In 2016, Alan Dove, 61, nicknamed “Gramps” by a younger colleague, was awarded more than £63,000 in an age discrimination case against his employers Brown and Newirth. The sum included a payment for “injury to feelings”.

The fourth type of age discrimination is “indirect”. The arbitration service Acas describes it as occurring “where there is a policy, practice, procedure or workplace rule which applies to all workers, but particularly disadvantages people of a particular age” – such as asking for job applicants with 10 years’ experience, which disadvantages younger people. Indeed in 2007, 20-year-old Megan Thomas won a discrimination case after being dismissed from her job at an exclusive London club because her employers thought she was too young to deal with their members.

Why is age so important to us? In 2015, Gillian Connor, head of external affairs at Hanover, which provides affordable homes for older people, suggested: “I think that older age is still seen as a shorthand for ill-health, inactivity and decline and therefore that stereotype can prevail. There is also an unhelpful stereotype of older people as being anti-youth. There is such brilliant diversity in older age now – you really can’t generalise.”

Will perceptions change as the proportion of people over retirement age increases? As retirement age itself increases? When I was born, retirement age for women in the UK was 60. In 2028, it will be 67.

It seems to me that a big part of the problem is that age is relative. When I was 12, my mother told me that no matter how old she got in real terms, she always felt 18 inside her head. As a child looking at a forty-something, the idea seemed ridiculous. How could she even remember what it was like to be so young? Three decades later, I get it. I’m totally 18 in my head. But to the people around me?     

Joking aside, it’s perhaps heartening to hear that the reason people on Tinder are uptight about age is because most of them are actually looking for love rather than a hook-up. They’re looking for “the one” with whom they can settle down and have a family. Alas, much as we’d like to deny it, age still is a factor when it comes to fertility. That said, I give you Rachel Weisz. Newly up the duff and nearly 50. Or how about Maria del Carmen Bousada de Lara? Sixty-six and 358 days. She had twins.

When it comes to looking for work, it’s more complicated. You don’t suddenly become unable to drive a bus when you hit 36 and there are laws in place that reflect that. A prospective employer is only allowed to ask your age if you must be a certain age to do the job you’re applying for. For example, if it includes selling alcohol. If there’s no legal reason why you need to be above a certain age, they can’t ask for your date of birth on the application form.

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