An employer can justify both direct and indirect age discrimination by reference to business needs and other economic factors such as consideration of efficiency. However, discrimination will not be justified simply because it may be more expensive not to discriminate. There must be some real need of the employer. Discrimination may be justified on the basis of trying to protect health, welfare and safety of the individual or because the job has particular training requirements.

The ACAS Guidance states that the discriminatory effect of the treatment or the provision, criterion or practice must be significantly outweighed by the importance and benefits of the legitimate aim. Your employer should therefore identify what legitimate aim or aims the provision, criterion or practice furthers. Secondly, the employer should have no reasonable alternative to the action that is being taken to achieve the legitimate aim.

ACAS say that if the aim can be achieved by less discriminatory means or by means that do not discriminate at all these other means should be taken. However this does not mean that the treatment has to be the only possible means of achieving the aim in question.
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