Unia opens increasing number of files for age-related discrimination
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    Unia opens increasing number of files for age-related discrimination

    Unia is opening an increasing number of files following reports of age-related discrimination. The Inter-federal Centre for Equal Opportunities is reporting this today (Monday).
    To counter these prejudices, the institution is launching an awareness-raising campaign, which has an ironic tone.

    Within the employment market, it is actually illegal to exclude a potential candidate, on the ground of age, Unia underlines.

    However, youngsters and individuals over 45 are regularly faced with these particular prejudices. Youngsters are immediately considered as lazy and older workers are overlooked, for example, on the basis that they are baffled by modern technology.

    Over the first eight months of 2016, Unia opened 74 files following reports of aged-based discrimination circumstances. This figure is an increase of 60% across the whole of 2015.

    Amongst these files, nearly six out of ten relate to the over 45s. Besides their given prejudices, employers often advance arguments linked to wage costs.

    “Choosing to take on a given candidate according to age and not skills and abilities sends out the wrong message to society,” Patrick Charlier, the director of Unia laments

    Age-related discrimination cases are rarely taken seriously, he notes. Yet, “We should keep in mind that the ageing population is a reality in Europe.”

    “Given that this growing proportion of the population faces a significant risk of discrimination in the work place, we are thus faced with a genuine social problem.”

    The institution has launched a campaign specifically targeting key employment players, trade union organisations, the sectors linked to the over 50s and the youth.

    The awareness-raising material comprises posters and banners which mock age-related clichés.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times