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Case Study: Redundancy Due to Age

I've been made redundant. I'm sure it's due to my age, surely that's discriminatory?

Mr Z came to see us following his dismissal on the ground of redundancy. Mr X was 59 years' old and had worked for his employer for 21 years.

He said that his employer's business had grown rapidly in the last 6 years, since the new CEO had been appointed. The employer had carried out a restructure and as a result a number of positions had become redundant, Mr X's role was one of the positions at risk.

As part of the consultation, Mr X's employer said that the Company wanted to appear "fresh and dynamic". Mr X had been marked down on the redundancy scoring exercise because his ideas were "old fashioned" and he was criticised for not keeping his skills current and up to date.

However, in the last 5 years he had not been offered any training, and he recalled a time when he had asked to go to a training workshop, but had been told there wasn't enough money in the Company's training budget.

He was made redundant, and the parting comment from his manager was "think of this as an early retirement".

Our Advice

Having reviewed Mr X's case, it was clear that he had been unfairly dismissed and discriminated against on the grounds of age.

We pursued Mr X's claim in the Employment Tribunal. However, once the claim had been lodged, we had a frank "off the record" discussion with the employer's solicitors. We pointed out the flaws in the employer's redundancy process, the discriminatory redundancy scoring exercise and the discriminatory comments. We also sent them a copy of a vacancy that Mr X had discovered on the Company's website 6 weeks after Mr X had been dismissed. The new role, albeit it had a different title, was essentially Mr X's role.

The case settled for £38,000, which was approximately 3 year's (net) salary for Mr X. Mr X had wanted to retire before 65, but had wanted to keep working a few more years so that he was able to pay his mortgage off.

Mr X was therefore very happy with the outcome as he was able to "retire" at 59 and pay his mortgage off.

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