Thursday 3 June 2021 3:32 pm

Employment tribunals: Age discrimination cases up by 74 per cent in a year

The number of age discrimination complaints to employment tribunals increased by 74 per cent in the last year, according to new research shared with City A.M. today.

Based on tribunal statistics data from the Ministry of Justice, digital community Rest Less found that the number of receipts under the jurisdiction of age discrimination in employment tribunals reached 3,668 in 2020, up from 2,112 – or 74 per cent – in 2019.

The analysis showed that the total number of jurisdictional complaints in employment tribunals decreased year on year (from 183,207 in 2019 to 180,430 in 2020). Age discrimination saw the biggest year on year increase of all other specific jurisdictional complaints.


Jurisdictional Complaint20192020% Change
Total Jurisdictional complaints183,207180,430-1.5%
Age discrimination 2,1123,66874%
Transfer of an undertaking (failure to inform and consult)6981,02847%
Written pay statement70593833%
Unfair dismissal21,37723,0578%
Public interest disclosure 2,7883,0078%
Written statement of reasons for dismissal3193417%
Race discrimination 3,8584,0084%
Part-time workers regulations3133233%
Redundancy – failure to inform and consult6,5186,415-2%
Disability discrimination 7,8057,649-2%
Breach of contract15,18414,754-3%
Religion or belief discrimination 774730-6%
Sexual orientation discrimination 476437-8%
Suffer a detriment/unfair dismissal – pregnancy 1,6391,489-9%
Written statement of terms and conditions1,3141,133-14%
Redundancy pay 6,9606,156-12%
Sex discrimination 6,1685,086-18%
Unauthorised deductions (formerly Wages Act)24,84817,103-31%
National Minimum Wage324188-42%
Working Time Directive32,90718,524-44%
Equal pay 26,30610,469-60%
Others19,81453,927172%

Source: Rest Less (Based on Ministry of Justice data)

Unemployment levels amongst the over 50s reached 426,000 in the final three months of 2020, up 48 per cent year on year, with 284,685 redundancies amongst the over 50s in 2020, up 79 per cent year on year, with still more than 1 million over 50s on furlough, Rest Less found.

‘We know that the pandemic has exacerbated age discrimination in both the workplace and the recruitment process,” said Stuart Lewis, founder of Rest Less.

He told City A.M. that “we also know that once made redundant, older workers are more likely to drift into long-term unemployment than their younger counterparts, raising fears about the sustainability of the UK’s recovery if we don’t have a jobs plan that works for people of all ages.”

Lewis stressed that he expects the number of age discrimination complaints to soar in the coming months.

‘These factors, combined with the need for many to keep working until they are 66 to access the safety net of the state pension, are leading to a increase in the number of employment tribunal cases based on age discrimination – and it’s likely to get worse,” he explained.

“Age is a legally protected characteristic, just like gender, ethnicity, religion and disability but yet age discrimination is still widely seen as a socially acceptable form of prejudice. Age discrimination is unfair, unacceptable and has long-term damaging consequences on both the individuals involved and wider society. It needs to stop,” Lewis concluded.

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