Daphne Romney QC and Dee Masters
From 1 October, the government will bring into force the provisions within the Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010) which prohibit age discrimination in the field of goods and services by virtue of the Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No 9) Order 2012. This means that commercial, charitable and public sector organisations will be required to eliminate unequal treatment on the grounds of age in respect of the provision of goods and services.
However, there are a myriad of exceptions contained in both the EA 2010 and the draft statutory instrument entitled the Equality Act 2010 (Age Exceptions) Order 2012 (Age Exceptions Order) which is expected to be laid before parliament shortly. These were formulated following a detailed consultation exercise carried out in 2011 but in our view they introduce uncertainty in various areas which will inevitably lead to litigation.
The Government Equalities Office published guidance on 3 August to help organisations understand the implications of the change to the existing law. Links to the new guidance will be found at the end of this article. This change in the law is an interesting development because the ban on age discrimination does not have the same European context as other forms of discrimination. There is no directive currently prohibiting age discrimination in the field of goods and services. It is however a well-established and fundamental principle of community law that there should be equality of treatment. This is further enshrined within article 19 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in the context of age.
Download the full article here: 2012-september-dm-and-dr-age-disc-goods-and-services.pdf