Minister Wayne Scott
Minister Wayne Scott

Age Concern has launched a stinging attack on Minister Wayne Scott for failing to tackle age discrimination in the workplace.

The charity said it was “deeply disappointed and curious” that age discrimination in the workplace had been left out of amendments to the Human Rights Act that will be tabled in Parliament later this month. 

A statement released by Age Concern’s Board of Directors last night said: “Although Minister Scott stated that he will also be asking Parliament to prohibit age discrimination in the areas of provision of goods, services and facilities, and housing, and extend the definition of harassment to apply beyond the workplace, the position of Age Concern is that the prohibition of age discrimination in the workplace should be an integral part of the amendments. 

“Age Concern has long lobbied successive governments to prohibit age discrimination in many areas including the workplace. A short time ago the Premier and the Minister of Finance made it clear that the OBA Government feels that the best social program is a job. 

“Why are seniors not included in the vision of an employment-rich Bermuda, as there are many seniors who cannot afford or do not wish to retire at the so called retirement age of 65? Age Concern asks the Minister to set a time frame to have the necessary research done so that seniors can be removed from the vulnerability of loss of jobs simply because of age, “as soon as practical”.

Earlier this week Minister Scott announced that amendments to the Human Rights Act would prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.

And he told The Royal Gazette that more research needed to be done before Parliament considers prohibiting age discrimination in employment. But Age Concern was not impressed: “Is the Government and the Minister in particular, aware of the Equality Act passed in the UK in 2010 and that the Age Discrimination section came into effect on October 1, 2012? The 2010 Census indicates that there is a decreasing working-age population and an increasing aging population.

“In light of these demographic trends there needs to be a well-thought-out strategy for transfer of experience and knowledge which can provide benefits across the community.”

We contacted the Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs but received no response.