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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 September 2006, 19:09 GMT 20:09 UK
Older staff 'dumped' as law looms
Age discrimination laws exist in the US and many EU countries
Older workers are being dumped in the lead-up to the introduction of age discrimination laws in October, a charity has alleged.

Age Concern says it has received a spate of complaints from older staff claiming they have been sacked without warning in recent weeks.

The charity says calls from sacked older workers have risen by 200%.

Under new legislation, it will be illegal to force workers to retire before the age of 65.

'Forced out'

"We have seen a rapid and sharp increase in the number of calls from older employees who are very, very concerned, many of whom are angry," said Michelle Mitchell from Age Concern.

"They strongly feel that they are being forced out of the workplace because of their age before new age discrimination laws come into place."

The BBC's Barnie Choudhury reports that the Department of Work and Pensions is working with employers to show they can benefit from the skills and experience of older workers.

A spokesperson for the department says it is "short-sighted" to get rid of older employees to avoid the new law.

Business concern

Under the plans, employers will also have to consider requests from their employees to work after the age of 65. If an employer wants a worker to retire at 65, they will have to give them six months' notice.

Miles Templeman from the Institute of Directors told BBC News of employers' concern: "There are some hints that the law... could in fact affect the younger range of employment.

"There are some examples we've heard about where people could over-interpret the law. All we need is common-sense application of it and a bit of time for companies to get used to it."

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