Small business owners trying to demonstrate they are not ageist by actively recruiting older workers could be risking age discrimination claims, employment law expert Croner has warned.
The advice comes with the release of new research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), that suggests 70 per cent of UK employers are actively seeking to recruit the over 55s.
But when new regulations to prevent age discrimination come into force in October, doing so may lead to discrimination claims from employees within other age groups.
Croner said many employers already have the misconception that they will be complying with the new legislation if they boost their quota of older workers.
A recent Croner study of 20 in-depth interviews with HR professionals on age discrimination revealed one respondent saying: "The legislation won't affect us directly as we have a lot of workers over the age of 60 years."
Croner's research also showed that most respondents rely on the press for their knowledge and understanding of the new law.
Under the new Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, businesses may only target a certain age group if they are under-represented in the workforce, but they must be careful not to exclude other groups.
Richard Smith of Croner says: "The CIPD research findings show that employers are thinking positively about age, but it could mislead them that recruiting from specified age groups, young or old, is always acceptable."