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Age Discrimination - not just for older workers

Age discrimination can be a problem for employees of all ages. People often assume it is all about discrimination of older employees, but this is clearly not the case.

The employment tribunal (Osborne and another v Gondhia and others t/a Rutaba Partnership), recently upheld the age discrimination claims of two young adults who resigned from their jobs in a service station after what they felt was aggressive and unfair criticism.

The tribunal found that they were not treated with the respect they deserved as employees and the employer would not have treated an older employee in the same way. This particular tribunal also upheld their sex discrimination claim for comments made to them by the owner that cleaning is a “woman’s work”.

Another employment tribunal decision relating to age was Roberts v Cash Zone (Camberley) Limited. Roberts was 18 years old when she was employed. She brought a harassment claim relating to her age on the basis that her supervisor had referred to her as “a kid”, a “stroppy kid” and a “stroppy little teenager”. The tribunal highlighted that the words “teenager” and “kid” can be both descriptive, or judgmental, with the latter often being derogatory and relating to assumptions about stereotypical behaviour. Roberts was awarded £2,000 for injury to feelings.

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