Innocuous Or Not?
Innocuous Or Not?
It may have seemed an innocuous remark, but it landed an employer in an employment tribunal.
So what was the remark? “Calm down and don’t let the hormones get out of control.”
But what was the discrimination issue? Was it offensive, was it in relation to the employee’s gender? The answer may surprise you.
The employee, Louise McCabe, won her case against Selazar, on the basis of AGE discrimination, as she believed he “would not have said this to a younger person”. She also won claims of breach of contract and unfair dismissal. McCabe was one of the founding directors of Selazar in 2014.
She was dismissed in September 2020 and at the time she was 55 years old.
The evidence for age disrimination partly focussed on evidence that in a meeting between the business’ executives on 28 May 2020, McCabe remarked that she only had one pair of hands to manage a large amount of work.
Her boss and co-director Jack Williams told her to calm down, and not let her hormones get out of control, which she told the tribunal he would not have said to a younger individual. Williams denied saying this, but the court found in favour of McCabe’s version of events.
On 9 July 2020, McCabe commenced a period of annual leave due to end on 20 July. However, during this period Williams removed McCabe as a director, including removing her listing from Companies House without due process. He claimed the latter was a clerical error, but the court found no evidence of attempts to remedy that situation.
Judge Jillian Brown at the tribunal also found that her termination followed McCabe making protected disclosures, such as those around mental health, and therefore amounted to detrimental treatment.
The court also found that there was enough evidence to show that Williams, himself in a younger age group, viewed McCabe as an older woman, and felt that older people were less likely to understand the tech industry.
A further hearing will be held to determine damages.
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.