New ageism laws let older bankers sue for millions

New employment laws have been introduced in the European Union that will help middle-aged and older workers. The Employment Equality Age Regulations became law on October 1 as part of an EU-wide initiative to stop ageism in the workplace. Legislators decided discrimination against older workers and older job seekers was the same as with sex discrimination and that against ethnic minorities. The new laws mean staff can claim significant levels of compensation from employers guilty of firing staff for being “too old”.
Those likely to most benefit from the new laws are middle-aged bankers, who are often “let go” by their employers for being less dynamic than their younger and more ambitious counterparts. The Guardian reports that one bank allowed staff to call traders in their 40s „dinosaurs” and their desks as „Jurassic Park”, according to a leading employment law solicitor. Before the new law was passed, these workers had a very hard time reconstructing their lives after being wrongly fired by companies. Compensation for unfair dismissal claims was at around $110,000, which is a fraction of the income for many bankers in their 40s. This often meant financial ruin for many middle-aged bankers. The new laws change that. Companies now need to be extremely careful when “releasing” older workers, or risk multi-million-dollar payouts to dissatisfied staff.

Exercise 1

Match these expressions to their English equivalents:

1. zatrudnienie – compensation
2. ustawodawca – counterpart
3. odszkodowanie – dismissal
4. odpowiednik – employment
5. handlowiec – income
6. radca prawny – legislator
7. zwolnienie z pracy – solicitor
8. dochód – trader


Exercise 2

Complete these phrases with the missing verbs:

be / claim / fire / introduce / stop
1. to ______________ laws
2. to ______________ ageism
3. to ______________ compensation
4. to ______________ staff
5. to ______________ fired


Exercise 3

Use the words to make collocations:

dissatisfied / employment / financial / job / unfair
dismissal / law / ruin / seeker / staff
1. _________________________________
2. _________________________________
3. _________________________________
4. _________________________________
5. _________________________________


I know English idioms!

This lesson’s text deals with the issue of firing people. One of the ways of saying that in a delicate way is “to let somebody go”, like in the sentence “(…) middle-aged bankers, who are often “let go” by their employers..”. Another idiomatic expression to say that somebody loses a job is “to get marching orders”, for example:
As an executive director he said they he had never got marching orders in his career.


Grammar corner…

In this lesson’s text we can find such fragments:
“bankers who are often let go” and “one bank allowed staff to call…”
We write about them because of these verbs: “let” and “allow”. What’s so special about them? Well, they have exactly the same meaning (pozwolić coś zrobić) but take different verb forms, that is:

  • let sb (do)
  • allow sb to (do)



Exercise 4

Rewrite these sentences so that the meaning stays the same:
example: Let me go. – Allow me to go.

1. They didn’t let us sit there.
They _________________________________________________________ .
2. We won’t allow you to take the loan.
We __________________________________________________________ .
3. Let us buy this house.
_____________________________________________________________ .
4. Would you allow me to stay in?
Would _______________________________________________________ .
5. I’m not going to let you smoke.
I’m __________________________________________________________ .



ageism – dyskryminacja ze względu na wiek
law – prawo
to sue – wnosić pozew, procesować się
employment – zatrudnienie
to introduce – wprowadzić
middle-aged – w średnim wieku
equality – równość
regulation – regulacja (prawna)
(EU)-wide – dotyczący w całości (UE)
legislator – ustawodawca
job seeker – poszukujący pracy
ethnic minority – mniejszość etniczna
staff – pracownicy, załoga
to claim – rościć sobie prawo do
significant – znaczący
compensation – rekompensata, odszkodowanie
guilty – winny (czegoś)
to fire – zwolnić
to benefit from – czerpać korzyści z
to be let go – być zwolnionym, dosł. pozwolić komuś odejść
counterpart – odpowiednik
to report – tu: odnotować
trader – handlowiec, dealer
leading – wiodący
solicitor – prawnik, odpowiednik radcy prawnego
to be passed – zostać uchwalonym
wrongfully – bezprawnie
unfair dismissal – nieuzasadnione zwolnienie z pracy
fraction – ułamek
income – dochód
ruin – ruina
to release – wypuścić
payout – wypłata, odszodowanie
dissatisfied – niezadowolony



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1. zatrudnienie – employment
2. ustawodawca – legislator
3. odszkodowanie – compensation
4. odpowiednik – counterpart
5. handlowiec – trader
6. radca prawny – solicitor
7. zwolnienie z pracy – dismissal
8. dochód – income

Ex. 2
1. to introduce laws
2. to stop ageism
3. to claim compensation
4. to fire staff
5. to be fired

Ex. 3
1. employment law
2. job seeker
3. unfair dismissal
4. financial ruin
5. dissatisfied staff

1. They didn’t allow us to sit there.
2. We won’t let you take the loan.
3. Allow us to buy this house.
4. Would you let me stay in?
5. I’m not going to allow you to smoke.