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PRESS INFORMATION - press enquiries to Sam Dabbs on 07711 672893

3 October 2007

A year after age discrimination was outlawed in the workplace, one in five job advertisements still fails to comply with the rules, according to law firm DWF.

Its survey of 200 advertisements found that 21 per cent were potentially ‘ageist’, while 27 per cent could be viewed as containing some form of discrimination, whether on grounds of age, sex or disability.

Kirsty Rogers, partner with DWF said: “One of the biggest problems was that 12 per cent of all adverts specified a minimum level of experience, which could rule out younger people who might be equally capable of carrying out the role.

“A significant number required a degree, which could discriminate against older people as a university education is now much more common that it was 10 or 20 years ago. While both these requirements can be justified in some circumstances it is difficult to prove at a tribunal and a safer alternative would be to specify the level of skills required.

“An additional problem, particular in the leisure and retail sectors, is that some employers ask for candidates who are ‘lively’, ‘energetic’, ‘enthusiastic’ or ‘dynamic’. Such terms can all be viewed as discriminating against older people or those with disabilities.”

According to the survey, the retail sector was the worst offender with 37 per cent of all adverts containing some form of discrimination, compared to 32 per cent in HR, 26 per cent in the leisure sector and 16 per cent in finance.

The situation has improved since 2005, when age discrimination rules were first proposed and when a similar survey by DWF found that half of all job adverts contained some type of discrimination. However Rogers warns: “While progress has been made, it is clear that some organisations are still posting potentially discriminatory adverts, particularly on the grounds of age.

“Sloppy wording within advertisements is leaving employers open to tribunal claims. Job candidates can bring a claim on the basis of an advert even though they are not employed by the company. We advise employers to review any current adverts and the policies that they follow before publicising a position to ensure that they limit this risk.”


Notes to editors:

DWF LLP is one of the fastest growing regional law firms in the UK and has recently merged with Ricksons. With over 820 people based in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:

Banking & Finance
Business Recovery
Real Estate
Private Client

DWF has developed extensive sector-specific expertise in a number of areas including: automotive, education, retail & leisure, legal expenses and food and resourcing. Further information on DWF is available via

Media enquiries to:

Sam Dabbs
Dabbs PR & Marketing
T: 01939 210503 or 07711 672893

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