If you reach the stage where you, as an employer of domestic staff, may consider an employee is too old for the job they are doing, you need to tread carefully.
Listening to the comments of colleagues of “she/he is getting a bit frail nowadays” and making a dismissal decision has recently landed an employer in an Employment Tribunal.
At 88 years old, Eileen Jolly is now the oldest person in the UK to win an age discrimination claim.
The Employment Tribunal was told by Eileen Jolly, that she felt “humiliated and degraded” by the way she was treated by the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust She had commenced working for the NHS in 1991 when she was 61.
A manager carried out an investigation into allegations that she had failed to carry out her duties and his report included feedback from Mrs Jolly’s colleagues about her age and frailty. She was then dismissed for failing in her duties.
The Employment Tribunal upheld her claim of unfair dismissal and age discrimination.
Judge Gumbiti-Zimuto said: “There is a suspicion of the Claimant (Mrs Jolly) being a scapegoat. She was not offered training where it might be considered appropriate (remembering that this is a case where an investigation found that consultants and admin staff required more training).
The judge added that the Trust’s investigation had been unreasonable because it took into account comments from colleagues about Mrs Jolly’s age and frailty.
A hearing has been scheduled to determine how Mrs Jolly should be compensated.
As always, whenever employment issues are involved we recommend taking appropriate professional advice before taking any action.
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.