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Recruitment discrimination has to be “consigned to the past”

Lorna Davidson

The boss of a temporary recruitment company has welcomed the findings of a Government report into age discrimination in the workplace. Contributor Lorna Davidson, CEO – RedWigWam.

The report said the talents of more than a million people aged over 50 who want to work were being wasted because of “discrimination, bias and outdated employment practices”. It also said Government ministers and Britain’s equalities watchdog must be clearer that prejudice, unconscious bias and casual ageism in the workplace were all unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

Lorna Davidson, CEO of short-term recruitment specialist RedWigWam, said: “Age discrimination should be consigned to the past. We’re against any kind of discrimination, so I support the findings of the report. It’s our policy to treat everyone fairly, regardless of their age, gender, race or sexuality.

“Many of our workers have retired from full-time permanent employment, and they come to us because they want to continue working but in flexible, temporary roles that fit in with their post-retirement lives.” The report, published this week by the Women and Equalities Committee, said the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) were failing to enforce the law on age discrimination.

The panel of MPs called for the Government to work with the EHRC to agree specific enforcement actions across both the public and private sectors. Maria Miller, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said: “Age discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem, as many older people have discovered.

“The Government and the EHRC have failed to get to grips with this. They must be more robust in providing a remedy to potentially unlawful working practices in the recruitment sector.

“The business case for an age-diverse workforce is clear. Despite this, employers continue to organise workplaces around an outdated, inflexible model that this inquiry and our past inquiries into fathers in the workplace and the gender pay gap show no longer works.

“It’s time for a mandatory approach, with flexible working being the default from the time jobs are advertised onwards.”

“The age of retirement is no longer as clear-cut as it used to be,” Lorna added. “We offer jobs for retired people that can help them to keep active, while topping up their savings. They can also fit their work around their other commitments, such as caring for grandchildren or elderly relatives. Our retired workers bring with them a wealth of skills, experience and enthusiasm. And, contrary to popular belief, they are keen to learn new skills.”

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