Are volunteers protected against age discrimination under the Equality Act?

Not unless they are carrying out unpaid work as part of a paid employment relationship or vocational training. For example, someone doing teacher training experience in school would be protected.

However, only genuine volunteers are excluded from protection. Where an individual, although described as a 'volunteer' (for example, some unpaid 'interns') is really a worker who should be paid for what they do, they will be protected by the Equality Act.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.