How Laura Donnelly, Associate Employment Law solicitor based in our Gatwick office, helped a 65 year old employee gain compensation for his unfair redundancy dismissal due to age discrimination in the workplace.
Gordon was employed as a Sales Manager for a large company. He had worked for the company for over five years and had consistently achieved good sales results.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, he agreed to reduce his salary to avoid the company having to make compulsory redundancies. Unfortunately, a few of months later the company announced the need to start a formal redundancy process.
He was invited to a consultation meeting and advised that he was at risk of redundancy as he had scored the lowest in his team and he was given a copy of his scoring. However, he was not provided with any information about why his particular department was affected or what other roles were in the selection pool. He challenged the scoring and his scores were slightly increased, but he was informed that he had still scored the lowest in the team.
Gordon was surprised at this bearing in mind his sales record and experience. He also found it suspicious that he was the only person in his team being made redundant and that a recently recruited younger employee had been kept on. He was concerned that ageism was a factor as he was the oldest in the team.
He did not intend to retire for at least a few years and he was concerned about finding another job in another company at 65 years of age.
Gordon had already been made redundant when he instructed us to act.
We advised Gordon that his dismissal was potentially unfair due to concerns about the selection process and the consultation. We advised that he might have an age discrimination claim if he could show that his age had been a material factor in his employer’s decision to select him for redundancy.
Gordon was very upset by his unfair dismissal and did not want to return to work for the company. We helped Gordon to raise a formal grievance. Because he was now an ex-employee, we advised that his former employer might not agree to hear his grievance as this is a grey area in the Acas guidance on grievances.
However, if they did agree, this would be a would be a good way of showing his employer why the situation was unfair and test his complaints before making a claim in the Employment Tribunal. It could also help to encourage a settlement.
We started the Acas Early Conciliation process in order to protect the time limit for the claim. We also submitted a Subject Access Request in order to find out more about the selection process and potential evidence for the claim.
The company agreed to deal with Gordon’s grievance by providing a written response rather than him having to attend a hearing . They rejected his grievance but their reasoning was vague and unconvincing.
As part of the grievance process, the employer agreed to provide the scoring for the other employees in the team. This revealed that the younger new starter had scored higher on performance and experience and that one member of the team had been left out of the pool, without explanation.
The company did not provide any right for Gordon to appeal the grievance response. We responded to their outcome letter highlighting the flaws in the process and outcome as well as requesting further information that appeared to be missing from the Subject Access Request response.
As we were conciliating, we put forward settlement proposals which covered Gordon’s loss of earnings for one year as well as his statutory redundancy payment.
His employer agreed to pay this without us having to lodge Gordon’s claims in the Employment Tribunal. This early settlement was achieved within a few months of Gordon instructing us with minimal legal costs incurred.
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