Age discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably, or not given the same opportunities as others in a similar situation, because they are considered to be too old or too young.
It also occurs when a rule or policy applies to everyone but disadvantages a person because of their age and the policy is not reasonable.
Example: An employer only offers redundancies to those workers who are over the age of 50.
Age discrimination is against the law in many areas of public life, including: employment, education, getting or using services, and renting or buying a house or unit.
There are some limited exemptions. In relation to employment, an employer is allowed to discriminate against an older or younger person if their age means they cannot perform the inherent requirements of the job.
The Age Discrimination Act allows for positive discrimination in some limited circumstances.
Employers can also be liable for the discriminatory acts of their employees. This is called ‘vicarious liability’.