59-year-old told she'd be more suited to a 'traditional' office wins tribunal

59-year-old told she'd be more suited to a 'traditional' office wins tribunal

  • Date: Monday 25th September 2017
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A woman who was told she might be “better suited to a traditional estate agency” was discriminated against because of her age, a tribunal has ruled.

In this case, a 59-year-old female worker was informed by a company director, during a discussion on her performance, that she “might be better suited to a traditional estate agency.”  The employee asked the director to explain his comment and he said she should “sleep on it and decide what to do.”  The employee took this comment to mean he thought she should leave the business.

The employee raised a grievance against the director.  But, unhappy with the findings that she required more training and the meeting with the director had not been held in the correct manner, she resigned.

The employee took out a claim for age discrimination.  The tribunal found that the phrase “better suited to a traditional estate agency” was a reference to her age.   The word “traditional” is defined as “long standing” in the Oxford English Dictionary and the tribunal found that it was unlikely that such a word would have been used to a younger worker.  The tribunal also upheld the employee’s claims for harassment related to age and constructive unfair dismissal.


Lessons for employers

  • Consider the risk of using words that could be taken as a reference to age
  • Age discrimination claims can be brought when a comment alludes to an employee’s age even if they do not directly refer to it


For further information on the case please see the link below:



Source: Gavin Parrott, SSG

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