This guidance has been produced to help to eliminate age discrimination and to improve the working environment onboard ships. Age discrimination (ageism) is a potential form of unfair treatment at work given that the age gap between employees in the workplace can now be as much as 50 years.
Under the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006 each member state must satisfy itself that the provisions of its laws and regulations respect the fundamental right to the elimination of all forms of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Age discrimination can seriously affect the physical and emotional health of employees and job applicants. It can lead to decreased motivation and increased sickness and can compromise cohesive and effective teamwork.
It can also negatively affect companies resulting in potential organizational, economic and legal consequences. A ship is often a seafarer’s home for many months. It is therefore essential to ensure that there are a conducive living and working environment to avoid seafarers feeling isolated and vulnerable.
Factors to consider include:
• Protection against unfair treatment because of someone’s actual age, the age they are thought to be, or the age of someone they are associated with;
• Protection against harassment because of age; and
• Different treatment because of age being allowed in limited circumstances, e.g. cadets.