How old?

I spent most of this morning in a meeting discussing a new scheme aimed at people at the start of their careers. We can ask many questions about what they have done and their career history, but the one question we will not be allowed to ask is ‘How many years of relevant experience do you have?’ Why not? Because a union that monitors what we do regards it as a breach of our positive duty not to discriminate on grounds of age. Everyone in the room was agreed this was not very sensible (someone who started a new career late is just as likely to have only a few years of relevant experience as a younger person) but, apparently, we don’t wish to upset the union.

The union represents employees in our suppliers. My employer has a very strange approach to doing business.