£4k pay out after interviewers asked age during an interview
A candidate believed she was turned down for a role at a pizza chain’s branch because of her age and sex. In launching a discrimination case against the franchisee the candidate was paid £4,250 and issued with an apology.
It was reported that the first question the candidate was asked at the interview related to age, stating that the interviewer wrote down her answer, circled it and said: “You don’t look it.”
The candidate felt that, having been turned down for the role, it linked to this particular question and contacted the store about it. A member of the interview panel apologised, while also explaining that they didn’t know it was inappropriate to ask someone their age during a job interview. She also felt that her gender affected the decision to employ her, as she had noticed that all of the delivery drivers who were present in the store on the day of her interview were men. The burden of proof in discrimination cases rests with the employer – they have to prove that they did not discriminate and in a case such as this were clearly the interviewer was untrained and naïve, it was impossible to demonstrate this.
This is an important case which reminds employers that anyone involved in an interview process must be properly trained in discrimination issues. This was an expensive error of judgment.
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