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Age bias complaints at work on the rise

COMPLAINTS to the workplace watchdog have leapt in the past year, with employees worried about age discrimination the fastest-growing problem.

COMPLAINTS to the workplace watchdog have leapt in the past year, with employees worried about age discrimination the fastest-growing problem.

A 46 per cent rise in discrimination complaints was recorded by the Fair Work Ombudsman last year - up from 801 to 1171. Complaints about age discrimination made up 13 per cent of all complaints - the second largest group.

People with physical or mental disabilities made up the largest group, or 20 per cent.

But age discrimination complaints went up the most in the past year, the category recording a 6 per cent increase.

"It might be someone suggesting early retirement or not offering an older person training in new technology because they think they're too old," the Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, said. The Human Rights Commission has reported an increase in queries from older staff. There has been a 65 per cent rise in inquiries about age discrimination this year and a 44 per cent increase in formal complaints.

Ms Ryan said research showed only a small number of people who experienced workplace discrimination were prepared to make complaints.

"Most people would say they don't want to make a fuss because I can find another job but that's not necessarily the case for older workers," she said.

The Fair Work Ombudsman, Nicholas Wilson, said people were responding to campaigns about discrimination.

The federal government is investigating ways to keep people working for longer.


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