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Is being told to 'grow up' by your employer age discrimination?

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It has been reported that in a recent employment tribunal decision, an apprentice hairdresser, who alleged that she had been sworn at, been called “dimlow” and had been told to “grow up” and “pull herself together” by other staff, was not subjected to discrimination on the grounds of her age, by her employer.

It has been reported that the tribunal found that there was no evidence to prove that the claimant was sworn at or called ‘dimlow’ because of her age. Moreover, it has also been reported that the tribunal did not “find the words ‘grow up’ and ‘pull yourself together’ in themselves are related to age and can be said to anyone and particularly to someone older who is acting in a childish way”.

It is understood that the evidence of the claimant and the evidence of respondent differed, and that ‘there was little or no documentary evidence to help resolve the differences’.

This recent decision shows the importance of having evidence available to substantiate claims of discrimination brought before the employment tribunal, and highlights the significance of evidencing that any detrimental treatment suffered is linked to a protected characteristic.

The characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010 include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy
  • Gender reassignment
  • Religious beliefs
  • Disability

Under the Equality Act 2010 you are protected from discrimination during your employment, from public services, businesses or organisations which provide goods or services and clubs and associations.

Common claims of discrimination, pursued under the Equality Act 2010 are direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

If you feel that you may have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace, it is imperative to be aware of the strict time limits to bring claims of this nature. The limitation period, (the period within which a claim must be brought), in employment tribunal cases is three months less one day of the incident of alleged discrimination having occurred.

If you feel that you need further advice regarding a potential claim of discrimination, please contact our specialist solicitors in the discrimination law department on 0161 696 6170.

By Jackson Long, employment and discrimination law advisor