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A recent case confirmed the necessity for employers to be aware that they should not discriminate against either employees or potential employees on the grounds of their age.

In this case a 63 year old Mr Matier was made aware that a large firm were seeking to fill the position of a store person/van driver. The company had stated that any potential applicants should contact the finance director between certain hours. However Mr Matier decided to visit the premises to make the enquiry about the vacancy.

On arrival, Mr Matier spoke to a man who said the finance director was not available but he would take the details. Mr Matier was asked for his name and address and then asked what age he was. Mr Matier queried if that would go against him. The man, who said he was the “boss”, replied “Well I was looking for a younger person who I could train and move upstairs” .

Mr Matier brought a claim for unlawful discrimination on the grounds of age. He also cited injury to feelings and alleged that his enthusiasm and confidence had been severely knocked by the response following his enquiry.

The tribunal agreed with Mr Matier that he had suffered age discrimination and awarded him £3000.00 compensation.

The lesson to be learnt for employers is never request a person’s age; never state in a job ad or verbally that you are looking for a younger or older person for a job role. Also avoid using any words or phrases which suggest or infer that you are looking for applicants from a particular age group or of a particular age. This could be by using terms such as “ten years of experience required, “ suitable for under 40s” or even to say “ energetic people needed”.

If you need any employment advice on discrimination or other issues, please contact our employment team or Julie directly at Julie.leonard@edwardsandcompany.co.uk