Employment tribunals have been accepting an increased number of age discrimination claims in recent years. In 2009-10, the number of claims accepted raised to 5,200 from the previous figure of 3,800 in 2008-09, an increase of 36.8%. According to Tribunals Service statistics, this year that number dropped slightly, to an increase of 30.8%, which is still an increase of nearly one-third, rising to 6,800 claims accepted.
The number of claims this year has decreased by 8% compared to the previous year according to those statistics, which cover from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011. While there were 236,100 claims in 2009-10, only 218,100 claims were made this year. This is still a major increase of 44% from 2008-09.
Adrian Crawford, employment partner for law firm Kingsley Napley, says that though these age discrimination claims are still far behind sex discrimination, they are swiftly catching up on disability claims and have already surpassed race-related claims to become the third most frequently reported discrimination action.
"Everybody has an age so anyone can potentially formulate an age discrimination claim," says Crawford. He views this as an explanation for the huge number of claims even before the abolition of the default retirement age's impact has been seen. He believes that it is also likely to lead to an enormous increase in age discrimination claims.