Plumber awarded £25k for age discrimination

A plumber whose nickname was ‘Half-dead Dave’ because he was 69 was dismissed when his employer selected him for redundancy due to a ‘downturn in workload’ following a points-scoring system which rated him as lower than other staff.

The claimant appealed the decision, asking his company to explain the selection process and questioning whether his age had been a factor. When he received the scoring system supposedly used to select redundancy candidates he complained it had been ‘fabricated’. He received a score of 28, which was low given his experience and expertise. His score for ‘Performance’ was the lowest other than that of a junior trainee.

The tribunal ruled the system was unfair and there was ‘no justification’ for the low scores awarded to the claimant, now 71. It also said his ‘Half-dead’ nickname proved that his status as the oldest employee at the firm had influenced their decision to dismiss him. The employer claimed that the nickname was simply ‘banter’ but the tribunal heard it left the claimant feeling ‘saddened and embarrassed’.

The employment judge ruled “This was discrimination on the grounds of age, plain and simple. Discrimination of any form is not just banter. That is accepted across society at large.”

The tribunal ruled the claimant had been both discriminated against due to his age and unfairly dismissed, awarding him £25,000 in compensation – £7,000 of which was awarded purely for the ‘name-calling’.

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