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Ageism, also called age discrimination, is when someone treats you unfairly because of your age. It can also include the way that older people are represented in the media, which can have a wider impact on the public’s attitudes. If you experience ageism, it can impact on your confidence, job prospects, financial situation and quality of life.

How are older people discriminated against?

You may be fully aware that you have been subject to ageism, but in some situations it may not be so obvious. Although ageism is often seen as a workplace issue, you may face it when you’re out shopping, at the doctor’s surgery, or even when ordering products and services over the phone.

Some examples of ageism include:

  • losing a job because of your age
  • being refused interest-free credit, a new credit card, car insurance or travel insurance because of your age
  • receiving a lower quality of service in a shop or restaurant because of the organisation’s attitude to older people
  • being refused a referral from a doctor to a consultant because you are ‘too old’
  • being refused membership to a club or trade association because of your age.

Ageism at work

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have further information on this topic. Acas provide free and impartial information and advice on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

How the law protects you from ageism


Last updated: May 21 2019

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