Ageism most common complaint as bias continues in workplace

Discrimination is alive and well in the workplace, with one in five adults believing they have suffered from discrimination. Ageism is the most common complaint, with a third of adults saying they failed to get a job or had been passed over for promotion because of their age. Two-thirds said they were discriminated against for […]

Discrimination is alive and well in the workplace, with one in five adults believing they have suffered from discrimination.

Ageism is the most common complaint, with a third of adults saying they failed to get a job or had been passed over for promotion because of their age.

Two-thirds said they were discriminated against for being too old. But it cut both ways, with the other third claiming they were discriminated against for being too young.

The Gallup survey of 1,521 people of working age, published last week, also records high incidences of sex and race discrimination. Being the `wrong’ gender is cited by 22% of people who had experienced discrimination as the reason for failing to get a job or promotion.

Ethnic origin is cited by 18% in the survey commissioned by management consultancy Eden Brown. Of the women who feel they had been discriminated against, the greatest proportion – 42% – say it was because of their sex. Only 4% of men report discrimination on this basis.

The findings coincide with the Disability Rights Commission’s defence of its right to use the courts to stop employers discriminating against disabled people.

In a National Opinion Poll survey for disability charity Leonard Cheshire, almost half of respondents say the commission should focus on information and education. Only 18% of the 1,000 people questioned say prosecuting organisations should be the priority, while 29% favour a mixture of the two.

A spokesman for the Disability Rights Commission, which won its first case in the Court of Appeal in June and has vowed to take a hard line with firms that discriminate, said education was important, but it did not work in isolation.

`We have had decades of governments telling us that information and education is the way forward. But what we’ve found is that people are still being discriminated against, and it needs to stop,’ said the spokesman.

John Knight, head of external policy at Leonard Cheshire, said the charity wants employers to voluntarily include disabled people, but he admitted that does not always happen.

Dominique Hammond writes for Personnel Today

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