Age Discrimination claim results in £340k payout!

A scientist who was described as “absolutely useless” by managers has won a claim for age discrimination and compensation of more than £340,000. The employee was a geophysicist and was 62 at the time of his dismissal, having been employed for four years.  The tribunal heard that managers had discussed his age behind his back and in emails, saying that they wanted to recruit “more active” staff. One email said he was “far over 60” and “expensive”.

The employee was initially told that the reason for his dismissal was due to a “current downturn” and then “poor performance”.

Prior to his dismissal, the company had updated its HR processes and produced new job descriptions and changed his job title without notification or consultation. There was some confusion at the time that managers saw this as a demotion, but this was not communicated to the employee.

The tribunal heard correspondence between a majority shareholder and the managing director explaining that “We can say the reason we let him go is bad performance…He is quite expensive and not productive… I am sure he doesn’t have a shortage of money.” And went on to say, “He is not a young person and I believe he is a pensioner.”

The tribunal found that there was sufficient evidence in the mails to make a find that age was the reason why the claimant was dismissed. The total award was £340,000, including almost £150,000 for financial losses, £20,000 for injury to feelings, a £42,000 uplift for the company’s failure to comply with the ACAS code, tax and interest.

Be aware of anything that is stated in correspondence between parties as it is likely to be disclosed in such situations – contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 995 121 to discuss any dismissals that you are considering.

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