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Falling on Their Feet: Young Workers, Employment and Age Discrimination

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Blackham, A 


Youth (un)employment continues to cause UK policy-makers major headaches. The unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds was 16.2% in the quarter from October to December 2014, compared with 5.7% for the general working population. Further, 27%of unemployed 16-24 years olds had been unemployed for over 12 months. The Resolution Foundation estimates that37% of those employed on zero hours contracts are aged between 16 and 24, indicating that young people are often consigned to insecure, precarious jobs when they find work. In this context, age discrimination legislation has significant potential to address institutional barriers facing younger workers. By prohibiting direct and indirect discrimination in employment on the basis of age, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1031, and now the Equality Act 2010, offer young workers at least the possibility of tackling discriminatory conduct and practices. However, the case of Lockwood v Department of Work and Pensions provides a telling critique of how well young people might be able to challenge age discrimination in employment and assert their employment rights.


This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from OUP at


4801 Commercial Law, 4803 International and Comparative Law, 48 Law and Legal Studies

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Industrial Law Journal

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Oxford University Press (OUP)