It’s unlawful to discriminate against older job seekers and employees
The rights of older job seekers and employees are protected by Acts of Australian and Tasmanian parliaments.
- According to the Commonwealth Fair Work Act 2009, one form of unlawful workplace discrimination occurs when an employer takes negative action against an employee or prospective employee because of their age.2
- According to the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Act 1998, a person must not discriminate against another person on the ground of age in regard to employment.3
- According to the Federal Age Discrimination Act 2004, “it is unlawful to discriminate on the ground of age in respect of…employment and other related matters.”4
Some exemptions are outlined in the legislation. For example, the Age Discrimination Act allows for positive discrimination in some limited circumstances.
Except for the legislated exemptions, employers must not discriminate against older people either in the recruitment process or during their employment.
Despite this, research by the Australian Human Rights Commission indicates that too few employers and recruiters understand their responsibilities.
“The Commission’s Willing to Work report, published in 2016 makes it clear that many older Australians are willing and able to work but are prevented from doing so by age discrimination and lack of positive policies and supports.”
– Australian Human Rights Commission5