Monday, October 29, 2012
AGE DISCRIMINATION AT WORK[i]
British Columbia’s Human Rights Code protects people 19 and over from being treated differently and poorly because of their age. We all have a duty to respect each other’s human rights. The B.C. Human Rights Code (The Code) is an important law that protects people from discrimination, including harassment. The Code allows a person or group to file a complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal if they believe they have been discriminated against or harassed, and protects them from retaliation if they make a complaint.
An employer cannot make age an issue or advertise for a certain age when hiring. An ad must not say, “only mature people need apply” or “young people wanted.” An employer
cannot refuse an older applicant because “...the job requires a lot of energy and enthusiasm and the company is looking for someone with career potential. “When hiring, an employer can ask someone if they are legal working age, but cannot ask anything that could reveal age. After hiring, an employer might legitimately need to know the employee’s age for a purpose like enrolment in a pension or benefits plan.
As of Jan. 1, 2008, mandatory retirement, with some exceptions, is no longer allowed in British Columbia. The choice about when to retire is up to the employee. Early retirement benefits can be offered to all employees as an
incentive to retire, but an employee cannot be forced to retire.
Situations where age distinctions are allowed in employment:
Jobs with Age Limits
There may be some jobs with age limits because of the duties or needs of work or because of safety issues or dangers. These true demands of a job are called bona fideoccupational requirements. The employer must be able to show that the reasons for the age limits are acceptable under the Code.