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Age discrimination - goods and services

8 October 2012

From 1st October 2012, age discrimination in the provision of goods and services is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010 (EA). This includes direct and indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation by a person concerned with the provision of a service, goods or facilities to the public or a section of the public, whether or not for payment. There are general and specific exemptions which include holiday services, financial products (subject to a proviso), concessions, age verification, sports, charities and schools and the ability to “objectively justify” direct or indirect discrimination. Positive action may also be taken to compensate for a disadvantage to a particular age group if objectively justified.

Organisations should check policies and practices although it is unlikely that drastic changes will be required. There is no directive prohibiting age discrimination in goods and services which would require the UK courts to interpret the EA consistently with European law so it will be interesting to the approach UK courts take to the new legislation.

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