Age Discrimination Case
Here we have yet another case where a director chose his words badly in what will, no doubt, be a costly exercise for Henworth Ltd t/a Winkworth Estate Agents.
Ms Gomes was just under 60 years old and happily working at the estate agents as an administrator. The agency was obviously trying to appear more youthful and seemingly didn’t value the experience that age may bring. Anyway at a meeting Ms Gomes was told by the director that she “might be suited to a traditional estate agency”, that ‘this marriage isn’t working” and she should “sleep on it and decide what you want to do”.
The Employment Tribunal agreed that the first comment would not have been made to a younger employee and was therefore direct age discrimination. However, those of you that read the transcript will also see that the Tribunal went on to say that even if they were wrong about direct discrimination, the comment certainly constituted age related harassment.
As the Claimant had resigned her position because she felt so unvalued she also had a Constructive dismissal Claim and the second two statements were seen by the tribunal as being clear evidence that the Claimant was no longer wanted at the business.
Ms Gomes had given evidence that the unwelcome comments had the effect of violating her dignity, she felt that the director was out to humiliate her. Ms Gomes said that she was so upset and she couldn’t get the words out of her head, the whole episode made her ill and she had to go on sick leave.
The employment tribunal will consider remedy at a future hearing.
This is another in a row of cases where ill thought out comments have caused offence and even made an employee unwell. It is extremely important that all employees from directors down have diversity training..
If you wish to discuss diversity training for your team or any other element of employment law, please call our employment law experts at our Nottingham Head Office on: 0115 988 6211