Jonathan Moreland

Beware of Age Discrimination in Job Adverts

18
Feb

An Employment Judge, sitting in the Manchester Employment Tribunals, has awarded over £13,000 compensation to a senior Solicitor who has been the victim of age discrimination. 

 

The Solicitor in question, Raymond Levy, was admitted as a Solicitor thirty-five years ago and is a specialist in Commercial Property law.  In March 2018, he expressed interest in an advert for a role with McHale Legal, which said it required a Solicitor with at least five years’ post-qualification experience.  Mr Levy attended an interview and it transpired that he was the only person who had interviewed for the role.

Following the interview, internal discussions took place at McHale Legal and it was decided Mr Levy was too “expensive”.  As a consequence, Mr Levy was informed that his application had been unsuccessful and that McHale Legal were actually looking for a more junior Solicitor with three to five years’ post-qualification experience, who they could mould to their specific requirements. 

 

Mr Levy pursued a claim for age discrimination through the Employment Tribunals on the basis it was his age which had caused McHale Legal not to offer him the role. 

The Employment Judge concluded that Mr Levy had met all the required qualifications for the role and it was only after he was deemed to be “expensive” that McHale Legal decided to change the requirements of the role.  Therefore, Mr Levy was a victim of age discrimination. 

Mr Levy was awarded £13,188 for loss of earnings, injury to feelings, aggravated damages and interest.  The award was however reduced to this figure by the Employment Judge due to the fact that it was felt Mr Levy would not have lasted long with McHale Legal in any event due to an inevitable clash of personalities, and also because it ceased handling Commercial Property work within months of the interview. 

 

A message for Employers

This case gives a clear message that the particular wording of job adverts may place individuals of a certain age at a disadvantage and result in them being the victim of age discrimination. 

Kate Palmer, an Expert Employment Adviser, stated, “As seen here, asking for someone with three to five years’ post-qualification experience is highly likely to only apply to younger applicants, meaning the older candidates would automatically miss out on this opportunity because of their age, despite meeting the requirements of the role.”

 

If you require guidance regarding how best to word your job adverts and avoid age discrimination, or have queries in relation to any other aspect of employment or HR law, please contact Jonathan Moreland by email at jmm@swinburnemaddison.co.uk or Sharney Randhawa by email at shr@swinburnemaddison.co.uk or call us on 0191 3842441.

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