To begin with, employment discrimination on grounds of age is not a problem only for workers in a specific age group in Colombia. For instance, young people feel discriminated against because of their lack of experience when seeking jobs for the first time, and the elderly feel rejected and undervalued when they are interested in finding a new job, or even keeping their current one.

Colombia’s Constitution, laws and jurisprudence strictly protect the principle of equality, and penalize any kind of discrimination based on age. Furthermore, Article 53 of the Constitution establishes fundamental labour principles, providing equal opportunities for employees and special treatment and protection for underage employees.

In the same way, Law 931 of 2004 regulates the right to work in conditions of equality on grounds of age, and expressly forbids any employer from considering candidates from a particular age range during the recruitment processes, since the requirements for accessing any employment must relate to merit, qualities or experience. This legal provision empowers the Ministry of Labour to supervise, control and sanction any legal breaches. Sanctions can be up to 50 minimum Colombian wages (approximately $US12,887).

Also, Article 43 of Law 361 of 1997, establishes the ground rules and criteria regarding accessibility to jobs for those whose capacities have been diminished by age[1].

Colombia has an enhanced regulation concerning workplace harassment, under Law 1010 of 2006, which states in Article 2, amended by Article 74 of Law 1622 of 2013, that any differential treatment based on race, gender, age, family or national origin, religion, political preference or social situation, is considered harassment that is not acceptable under any circumstances, and therefore should be sanctioned.

Additionally, Colombia has ratified several international covenants from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and has accepted and complied with the guidelines established by this organization, which has defined discrimination as any distinction, exclusion or preference that has the effect of nullifying or impairing equality of opportunity or treatment in employment or occupation.

In conclusion, Colombian law protects people who are discriminated against because of their age, and provides the legal, judicial and administrative mechanisms to prevent any abuse of power when an employer decides to dismiss an employee or disregard a candidate during the application process on grounds of age.

[1] Constitutional Court. Rulling C-824 of 2011. Presiding Judge: Luis Ernesto Vargas Silva.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *