Hotels who hire staff using online application forms could be found guilty of age discrimination, as using the internet alone excludes older age groups who are computer illiterate.
The warning comes from commercial law firm Wedlake Bell who believes that the increased use of web-based applications by hotel groups looking to cut administration costs excludes the majority of those over 50.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in 2006 55% of Brits aged 50 or over had not used a computer in the previous three months, compared with 13% of 16- to 30-year-olds.
David Israel, partner in the hotel and leisure group at Wedlake Bell, said: "Hotels which give job applicants the sole option of applying for a position through a standardised online form could find themselves challenged in a tribunal for being ageist."
He added that those who wanted to stay inside the boundaries set by the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age) regulations on 1 October 2006 ought to make allowances for the sections of the population that did not have internet access (29% of the UK population according to the ONS).
By Christopher Walton