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Discrimination against older staff double that of young

OLDER workers are twice as likely as their younger colleagues to experience discrimination, particularly when seeking employment, figures reveal.

Those aged 45-64 were also more likely to report that this work-related discrimination had a serious impact on their lives – in contrast with 25-44-year-olds – according to an ESRI study published today.

Report author Frances McGinnity said the big discrepancy between the two groups' experiences had not been evident during the "boom" years and possibly indicated greater difficulties experienced by older employees when seeking work during the recession.

The results are based on questions posed to adults in 2010 and related to their experiences over the previous two years. The last such questionnaire was carried out in 2004.

And the recession may be having a positive influence on the behaviour of staff in banks and other financial organisations, as the level of discrimination has fallen for those accessing this sector, Ms McGinnity said.

"Service providers like banks and insurance companies may need to compete more now for customers and may be less prone to discrimination."

And being unemployed appears to carry less stigma in a recession, with a fall in the risk of serious discrimination among those out of work in 2010.

A little less than 12pc of Irish adults said they had been discriminated against in the preceding two years, with 7pc experiencing discrimination while accessing services and 8pc in a work-related context.

While the overall rate of discrimination fell slightly, there was a small rise in serious discrimination between 2004 and 2010, with those reporting that it had a serious effect on their lives rising from 25pc to 32pc.

Women are more likely to experience discrimination than men, particularly in the workplace.

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While older people are much less likely to report experiencing any discrimination, the report says this may reflect a reluctance of older people here to classify their experience as discriminatory. Those with a disability are almost three times more likely than others to experience service-related discrimination.

A mere one in 10 of those experiencing discrimination take official or legal action but 40pc take some action, usually verbal, the report established.

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