Embrace diversity – but don’t fall foul of discrimination laws

By: Mark Hook

Date: 24 September 2009

McDonald's, the company famous for employing pimply teens as much as its burgers has published a study that shows customer satisfaction is up 20 per cent in those of its outlets that employ workers aged over 60. According to the survey, managers believe older workers go further to provide good customer service than their younger counterparts. McDonald's have reaped the benefits of an age diverse workforce, choosing to embrace both youth and experience.The company is now encouraging others to do the same.

While small businesses may consider this a good strategy, they must keep an eye on the rules relating to age discrimination. These make it unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly on the grounds of age - including during the recruitment process. So while aiming for a diverse workforce may seem a good plan, you might end up in hot water if you hire a worker because they're older rather than because they're the best candidate for the job, regardless of age.

Read the Law Donut's advice on age discrimination. Or join the discussion on our forum 'Is there ever a good reason for discrimination?'.

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