03 January 2009

Age Discrimination and Exam Results

Every year, in the UK, A-level examination results are published, and for the past twenty years or so, record pass results have been announced for each year.

This means that a person who sat an A-level exam last year, would have had a greater chance of getting a higher grade than if he had sat the A-level exam twenty years ago.

At this point these sorts of notes usually begin discussing whether or not A-level exams are easier/harder etc, now than they were in the past.

I don't want to go down that line.

Instead I want to consider what the implications of this is with respect to, The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

Section 3 of these regulations provides,

"3. — (1) For the purposes of these Regulations, a person ( “A”) discriminates against another person ( “B”) if—
(a) ..., or
(b) A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice which he applies or would apply equally to persons not of the same age group as B, but—
(i) which puts or would put persons of the same age group as B at a particular disadvantage when compared with other persons, and
(ii) which puts B at that disadvantage,
and A cannot show the treatment or, as the case may be, provision, criterion or practice to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

If you differentiate potential employees solely on the basis of examination grades, you may be breaking the law.

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