I recently applied for a job at a local pub which offered National Minimum Wage. I did
a short interview and at the end the manager asked me for some documents and also
how old I was. After telling her I was 25 she told me she would be in touch, but it
would be unlikely I’d get the job because they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay me the
required wage. She said she would prefer to hire someone younger. Is this legal?
Nobody should be asking you how old you are in a job interview. Being 25, you’re entitled to
the National Living Wage. On the Citizens Advice website there are full details of the wages
people are entitled to by law. But these rules shouldn’t mean employers avoid hiring people
because of how old they are. That’s known as ‘direct age discrimination’ in the Equality Act 2010.
You’re also protected by the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, which says employers
can’t not hire you (and they can’t fire you) because your age means you’re entitled to a
We have a lot of information on our website about what to do if you’re being treated unfairly
when applying for a job. If you’ve been discriminated against, there are steps you can take
to either get compensation or convince the person to give you a job.
Make a note of what happened as soon as you can – noting down exactly what you were
asked and any other remarks the interviewer made. This will be useful as evidence later.
Next, you should write a letter of complaint to the employer. Keep a copy of this letter for
your own records. There’s advice on the Citizens Advice website on what this letter should
include and you can also speak to an adviser at your local Citizens Advice to get help writing
If the letter doesn’t get an outcome you’re happy with, you could take the employer to an
employment tribunal. You’ll need as much evidence of discrimination as possible. Evidence
should include the job advert, the job description, your notes about what was said at the
interview and any contact you’ve had with the employer since – like your complaint letter.
Remember that you only have three months minus one day from the date that the
‘discriminatory act’ (in this case, the comments in your interview) happened to start tribunal
proceedings. You do this by contacting the government organisation Acas and telling them
that you intend to bring a claim.
Nobody should have to worry about being discriminated against when job hunting. For more
advice on your rights when searching for work, visit citizensadvice.org.uk/work or call
Citizens Advice on 0808 223 1133