Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, is also Australia’s most populous city, with a 2018 estimated population of 5.23 million. The City of Sydney, on the other hand, refers to the local government authority that covers Sydney’s central business district and its surrounding inner-city suburbs. Among the residents of the City of Sydney, ninety-four percent (94%) are employed. Out of all the employed residents in Sydney, 28.5 percent of them are 45 years and over. The residents aged 44 years and younger comprise 70.6 percent of the workforce and belong to the dominant group.
Because of the difference in age groups, there are many situations where an employment lawyer in Sydney is hired to mediate on age discrimination cases in the workplace.
What is Age Discrimination?
Employees who are already old and have passed their prime are being discriminated against by their employers and are fired or removed from the job because of their age. Employers who discriminate against their employees because of their age can easily get away with it because they can always claim that they no longer perform or have inadequate productivity. It is tough to specifically determine an ageism issue in the workplace because supervisors can easily claim that the reason for removing an employee is poor performance.
Why is Age Discrimination Still Rampant? A 2016 Australian Human Rights Commission survey revealed that 27 percent of Australian workers aged 50 and over had experienced ageism or age discrimination in the workplace. The cases of age discrimination may happen because of the following factors:
1. Perception of Manager. Managers often perceive performance as being affected by how old an employee is. A young manager who is pro-technology will most likely want a subordinate to be of the same age or younger than their age. This manager would often hire younger staff because this manager knows that younger generations easily adapt to technology changes. Because of the preference for younger employees, this manager may have a higher risk of discriminating against employees older than their age.
2. Perception of Elder Employee. Likewise, older employees may also feel that they are not working at their full capacity, especially those that are no longer familiar with the new technology incorporated into their jobs. These older employees face the dilemma of when to know the right time to retire and step down.
3. The Survivability of the Company. Many companies are guilty of ageism, especially if it involves the survivability of the business.
The Age Discrimination Act 2004. Nevertheless, the Australian Federal Government established the Age Discrimination Act of 2004, prohibiting age discrimination in the workplace. Employees who feel that they are being discriminated against because of their age may hire an employment lawyer in Sydney to fight for their rights as provided by this Act.
In the workplace, the Age Discrimination Act of 2004 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age in the following areas:
- Recruitment Practices. The recruitment or hiring should not discriminate against the age of the applicants. No matter what age group they belong to, applicants must be treated equally during the hiring process.
- Employment Conditions. All workers must be provided with the same work conditions. No preferential treatments must be accorded to employees of specific age groups.
- Access to Promotion. If a position has career growth, all employees must be qualified for the promotion.
- Training Opportunities. Regardless of age group, all employees must be given equal opportunities to get the necessary training to develop their work skills.
- Termination. It is unlawful to terminate an employee beyond the basis of his work performance. The age of the employee must not be a factor for termination.
Employees belonging to the older age groups must be aware of discrimination against them for their age and must ensure that their rights are protected by hiring an Employment lawyer in Sydney.