Chris Moyles and Radio 1: Youth brands must stay abreast of age laws
Whether Chris Moyles’ departure from Radio 1 was influenced by age discrimination, in light of the BBC’s desire to attract a younger demographic to this station, is unclear. However, it does beg the question whether youth brands should be allowed to call the shots when deciding whether an employee’s age is no longer appropriate to their job.
Some businesses rely on the youth market and invest in the development of age-appropriate marketing strategies for their products and services. However, most employers now accept that when it comes to managing their workforce, they are not allowed to hire and fire staff simply on the basis of their age.
The majority of employers have distanced themselves from forced retirement as a reason to dismiss staff in light of the government phasing out the default retirement age. Although it is still possible to retire staff with their consent, in the absence of a benchmark, this is not necessarily a straightforward matter and employee consultation through the process is vital.
Although part of the appeal of youth brands is their affinity with a young audience, it is important for this not to overshadow an ethical approach to employing people. Unless there are measurable performance-related issues that can be used as a basis for entering into a process that may ultimately lead to dismissal, it is unfair to seek to unreasonably oust individuals that don’t fit into the overall image a company or brand wishes to portray.
Moving the goalposts in an attempt to find fault with performance is not acceptable employer behaviour. There has to be reasonable evidence that the individual’s performance is below the expected standard, based on specific criteria as formally agreed as part of the employer/employee relationship. In addition, where there are issues with performance, these have to be closely managed and opportunities to improve need to be fairly provided. If these opportunities are appropriately managed and the employee fails to improve, the employer may be justified in dismissing the individual.
Image is important, after all, it is what helps businesses and their brands to win new customers and strengthen their market share. However, brands must remember that they are treading on dangerous ground if they choose to remove staff simply because their age profile doesn’t match that of their target market.Tagged in: age discrimination, chris moyles, Nick Grimshaw, radio 1, youth
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