by John Sprack Book
The age of new rights explained   (2008-12-20)
For the first time, this guide covers Regulations rather than Statutes on age discrimination, and will be valued not just by legal advisers but those in business because of its wide appeal and crisp writing style. It has a general applicability for all law students and those interested and involved in all aspects of contract and employment law.
The Age Discrimination Regulations generated enormous interest when they hit the legal world (and misleading comments in the tabloid press), probably because they affect so many people (including me) as the working population ages. They triggered a radical culture change which has affected both employers and employees.
This is a highly practical book, simple yet informative in style, which investigates these changes with clarity. John Sprack, whom many readers will know from his time as a tutor at the Inns of Court School of Law, details exactly how to avoid discrimination under the new regime and gives the full text of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, and the original European Directive 2000/78/EC on which these Regulations are founded.
It is clear that we are going to get more books of this nature in the future as Directives become part of British law (without, anti-EU critics will argue, much debate – but they would say that, wouldn’t they). However, if one views the passage of the Regulations carefully, considerable consultation has taken place on what continues to be a thorny ‘ageist’ issue to some, and a welcome reprieve for others.
The timetable has been exact which makes a welcome change for the passage of Directives, with draft Regulations published in July 2005, final drafts in March 2006 and a commencement date of 1<sup>st</sup> October 2006 thus meeting the extended deadline which had been set. The book:
· Enables practitioners to determine whether an organisation’s recruitment practices discriminate on the ground of age;
· Provides the information legal advisers will now require when preparing, pursuing and defending claims of age discrimination;
· Demonstrates exactly what constitutes discrimination under the new regulations;
· Includes the Regulations, the original Directive and the ACAS guide for employers entitled “Age and the Workplace”; and
· Describes the effect of the regulations on pay, benefits, pensions, retirement and dismissal.
This book is highly useful to legal practitioners and also those involved in all aspects of human resources because:
· It clearly sets out how employers can avoid age discrimination;
· It determines whether an organisation’s staff recruitment and retention policies discriminate;
· It enables legal advisers to spot employment practices (both everyday and strategic) that discriminate, and how to take effective action to eliminate them; and
· It contains the information legal advisers need when advising on, preparing, pursuing and defending claims involving unfair discrimination as it affects age.
John Sprack is an excellent training course deliverer in the field of employment law and is currently a part-time Chairman of Employment Tribunals. Sprack’s essential new employment law title gives the reader from whatever background a crisp analysis and commentary together with practical guidance and know-how which the human resources director will find invaluable: it is clearly of great benefit to all and a useful friend for those in personnel, or workers facing some of the difficulties of a possible tribunal hearing.
One thing I found most helpful with this book was the way it is structured. The usual suspects are present with a concise preface and introduction and 150 pages of annexes to cover the regulations.
However, it is the first twelve chapters which are the most exhilarating, when Sprack reviews some of the following areas which the regulations and directive cover:
what constitutes age discrimination; scope of the protection; justification and exceptions; recruitment and selection; terms and conditions; retirement and dismissal; pension schemes; changes to other legislation; enforcement; and remedies.
I felt the two most important chapters were chapter six (recruitment) with the special device of ‘Danger points’ which Sprack identifies where the employer could fall foul of the Regulations, and chapter 11 (enforcement) which is the crunch area for legal advisers covering the burden of proof, questionnaires and time limits.
So there is something for everyone with practical guidance for the initiated at a sensible price for the cash-strapped executive or legal aid/pro bono lawyer.
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