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Claim for age and sex discrimination against NHS Trust successful

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A recent article in the media reported that a 50 year old man has been awarded £7,600 by an Employment Tribunal for age and sex discrimination, in respect of his claim against Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

It is understood that the claimant experienced discrimination, in regards to a job application with the trust.

It has been reported that comments were made, in the interview process, of concerns about the claimant’s age and his ’willingness to work for others who were younger than him and perform more menial tasks.’ In addition, it is understood that that the respondent commented how “very different” the claimant was to the previous position holder, who is reported to be in her twenties.

It has been reported that, despite the claimant scoring the highest in the interview for the job, he fell short of the ‘best fit’ criteria. The successful candidate and comparator in this case is understood to have been, a woman in her twenties.

Judge Hyams-Parish is understood to have commented: “We were concerned that both conscious and unconscious bias were at play and that their focus on finding a person who was the ‘best fit’ led them to take into account factors which were discriminatory”; and “we were satisfied that the reason [the claimant was not selected] was significantly influenced by his age.”

It is understood that, while not as overt as the direct age discrimination finding, the Employment Tribunal was not persuaded that “the decision to reject the claimant in favour of [the comparator] was in no sense whatsoever because of his sex.”

The claimant was subsequently reported to have been awarded £7,600 in injury to feelings by way of compensation.

Direct discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs where an individual has been treated less favourably than another because they hold a protected characteristic, namely age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment status, and/or religion or belief.

An employer or other organisation cannot provide a defence to such a claim once it has been established that they have directly discriminated against an individual.

Age discrimination  

Age discrimination can take place if a person is treated less favourably as a result of their age or by virtue of them belonging to a particular age group.

You can be a victim of age discrimination in the workplace whether you are employed, seeking a new job and therefore engaging in a recruitment process or if you are working for a company through an agency.

Sex discrimination

It is unlawful to discriminate against a male or female because of their gender.

Such discrimination can take place by way of unpleasant comments and/or inappropriate physical conduct towards individuals which is considered by a tribunal or court would not have taken place had the individual been a member of the opposite sex.

How we can help you

If you feel that you may have been subjected to discrimination, it is important to remember that there are strict time limits to bring such a claim in the Employment Tribunal and County Court. It is therefore important that you seek specialist legal advice without delay following an incident of discrimination.

If you need further advice regarding discrimination, please contact our specialist discrimination law team on 0161 696 6170

By Sophie Brown, employment law and discrimination advisor