70 Years Old Dementia Sufferer Wins Age Discrimination Case
Sometimes it is hard to appreciate how words you feel are innocuous and possibly even helpful, can lead to a legal case.
Take for example, the case of Joan Hutchinson 75 and employed who was asked by her boss, if she wanted to retire. She was already suffering from dementia and exhibiting symptoms of “being flustered.”
She resigned saying she felt she had been pushed out and made to feel she was “too old to be there” in her words.
Her boss had asked her, if she wanted to retire, as he delivered groceries for her while she was isolating and shielding in the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
The Employment Tribunal which heard her case found that this was a “discriminatory” question that upset her.
Hutchinson returned to work on July 9, 2020, but after experiencing some problems, was asked if she would speak to Occupational Health . She replied “I can’t do my job, I will leave.” She walked out and was given a lift home by another colleague. After this, she was signed off sick.
She eventually quit and took her employer to a Tribunal where she won her claims of age and disability discrimination as well as constructive dismissal.
Upholding her claims, Judge Frazer at the Tribunal in Cardiff said the repeated mention of retirement was “direct age discrimination”. “This may have been said in a well-meaning way but, nevertheless, we find that it was said,” said Judge Frazer.
No compensation was awarded, and no explanation was given by the judge. The claimant however did prove that the words were effectively contrary to those which were permitted in those circumstances and represented age and disability discrimination as well as constructive dismissal.
It is a lesson on being very careful what you say!
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.