How to fight for your rights when you’re being discriminated because of your age 60



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Have you ever suffered from age discrimination? If you’ve been treated unfairly or denied an opportunity in a workplace due to your age then the answer is most likely yes.

Unfortunately age discrimination is a common occurrence in the Australian workforce. According to a recent survey by the Human Rights Commission, over a quarter of Australians aged 50 or over reported that they had experienced age discrimination at work within the last two years.

Age discrimination occurs when you are treated unfairly or denied an opportunity associated with:

  • Getting an interview; or
  • Being selected for a job; or
  • The terms, conditions and benefits offered as part of a job; or
  • Receiving training and the kind of training offered; or
  • Being transferred, promoted, made redundant or dismissed.

Age discrimination can be direct (e.g. advertising for younger applicants, making older employees redundant due to age) or indirect (e.g. asking for a fitness test that’s irrelevant to the job).

Unfortunately many of the participants in the Human Rights Commission survey took no action at all after the discrimination, the majority saying they did not expect a positive outcome, doubting they would be believed or that anything could be done.


So what are your rights?

It is unlawful under Federal and State/Territory laws to discriminate in the workplace based on age.

There are a few limited exceptions but in most cases you have the right to:

  • Apply for and be fairly considered for jobs, no matter how old you are.
  • If you are employed, you have the right to be trained, promoted, and get all other work benefits, no matter how old you are.
  • Not to be dismissed, retired or made redundant because of your age.


Where to go for help

If you are covered under the national workplace relations system (Fair Work Act) and you’ve been unfairly dismissed or forced to resign you should act quickly as there is a time limit of 21 days from the dismissal in which to lodge a claim with the Fair Work Commission. If you are eligible to apply for unfair dismissal remedies include:

  • Reinstatement, together with continuity of service and lost remuneration, or
  • Where reinstatement is inappropriate, payment of compensation for lost wages.

You can also attempt to resolve the dispute by lodging a complaint with your State or Territory Anti-discrimination agency or to the federal Human Rights Commission where, in general, an impartial person will attempt to help via a process called conciliation, which can result in agreed outcomes such as reinstatement, compensation or an apology.


Have you experienced age discrimination or know someone who has? Tell us about it in the comments.

Kim McFayden

Kim McFayden is the founder and CEO of LawCorner, a legal advice platform that gives peace of mind to Aussies with legal problems. Kim is a passionate believer in the power and potential of the web to bring people together to solve problems.

  1. Have NEVER experienced it in any way, changed my job in my late 50s am still working full time & am still offered other positions, as far as outside of work, people treat you the way you treat them, treat them respect & you will be treated with respect in return, I’ve found age has nothing to do with it.

    11 REPLY
    • I agree Lyn. I got a job in the United Arab Emirates at 58 and another on return at 63, both high-paying, senior positions.

      We have to make ourselves marketable.

    • Lyn Bradford. I am always on time, well dressed and respectful. I never apply for anything I cant do. I am always well prepared. When I was 57 I was told straight out I was too old in a job I had been doing for five years and wanted a promotion. I am sure you know what u are talking about in your situation, but do not presume it is the same for the rest of us.

    • Fran Spears, at what point in my reply did I say,as you put it, PRESUME it is the same for everyone, the question asked in this article was have YOU ever experienced discrimination in the work force, & no I never have, I work hard to keep myself competitive in the workforce, I’ve been back to formal education twice after turning 50 plus do ongoing education every year to keep myself ahead of the game & my age has never had anything to do with it, I can only speak for myself ( and that’s what was asked in this article) & my answer was no I have never found my age to to be a problem, my response was to my own experience, not to anyone else’s, so don’t try to put words in my mouth, I can only say what my experience has been & it’s always been positive.

    • I think there is age discrimination myself, there seems to be people who discriminates against everything these day, but good luck to you if you have not experienced it. We can’t all have the dubious honor of being discriminated against 🙂

    • I’m sure there are people that have experienced it Libbi ,but I can only comment on what I have experienced myself, and that’s what was asked in the article, (have you ever experienced discrimination ) I’m sure I’m not the only one that has never experienced it & don’t like the tone that Fran took to my comment just because it’s something I have no experience with & I answered the question honestly.

    • Treat them with respect and they will treat you with respect implieswthat those of us discriminated against dont treat them with respect and you dont believe it has anything to do with age. Seems to to me Lynn if it hasnt happened to you, you cant make that statement. Thats not putting words in your mouth.

    • Very difficult tho if you are trying to get back into the work force and a job that you are well qualified for….might be different if you are already working and change jobs

  2. Age is only limiting if you let it, don’t take yourself too seriously, but regard your capabilities seriously.

  3. I spoke to the anti discrimination board who basically said they can make an employer hire you if they can prove discrimination based on age. Lady said it was extremely hard to prove unless there are witnesses or a paper trail which no smart employer would have. Imagine if you get the job this way the ship you would have to put up with as they tried their best to squeeze you out.

  4. I have, several times and got no-where when I complained. Even Centrelink told me it is too hard to prove!!!!

  5. I was attempting to buy some theatre tickets on line until I had to put my birthdate in, then I was told I couldn’t put in a date that far back.

  6. Quite the opposite. At 58 yrs.i was offered 1 the end of that period was offered another year. At the end of that I thought ,here we go 60yrs.old he will retire me .But instead he offered me another year. I asked why ? .He said you are efficient and work well with the men here.It has nothing to do with age for him..I am now in my80 ,s .i have never forgotten that young man.

  7. I’m 62 and finding a job is because I have work related injuries as soon as employers know that they don’t want to know you

    1 REPLY
    • I did find that although I carried a serious back injury from a car accident. I explained that I had my own specially modified computer chair and would need an ergonomic assessment to have my desk, foot stool, computer monitor and keyboard set up. I also said I did not require time off work for my injury as long as I managed to work full time in my 2 previous jobs. My office equipment was supplied initially through the TAC Victoria.

  8. All the time we’ve applied in all placed worked in car industry for 26 Years no one wants me

  9. Sometimes I think so-called age discrimination is actually discrimination because of lack of qualifications or experience. Well qualified people get jobs.

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