14 February 2019 #Employment
An 88-year-old woman has succeeded in her age discrimination claim, making her the oldest person to win such a case.
She had worked for the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust as a medical secretary, keeping a list of patients due for non-urgent surgery. The role switched to a new electronic system for which she had received inadequate training, and she was placed under investigation for unspecified “serious breaches”.
As part of the investigation, management asked her colleagues for feedback on her ability, to which several responded with comments on her age, mobility and ability to adapt. She was dismissed aged 86.
The tribunal upheld her claim, calling the comments “inappropriate” and “hurtful”. The judge concluded such comments would not have been tolerated if directed at younger members of staff, and they were wrongfully considered by management in their investigation.
It serves as a reminder that management should ensure all staff are afforded the same levels of respect irrespective of age, and that this principle is reflected in their procedures.