Worker told ‘you’re not 25 any more’

Posted: 12th May 2014

EATA senior bank employee, whose boss told him ‘you’re not 25 anymore’ when trying to persuade him to move on from his role, has failed to convince the Emploment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that his constructive dismissal was triggered by age discrimination.

The man, aged in his 50s, resigned from the bank and claimed constructive dismissal and age discrimination. He believed that an attempt was being made to shunt him out of his job in order to make way for ‘someone younger’.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) found that the man had been entitled to resign on the basis that his manager had sought to move him from one role to another without following correct procedures. There had been a cumulative course of conduct that amounted to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence and the man had thus been constructively dismissed.

Despite the manager’s denials, the ET also found that he had made the comment regarding the man's age and that it was discriminatory. However, it went on to rule that he had not intended to impart a discriminatory meaning and had not been motivated by a belief that the man was too old for his job. The man had in fact been replaced by an employee of a similar age and the words uttered were not a material cause of his dismissal.

In rejecting the man’s challenge to that decision, the EAT found no flaw in the ET’s conclusion that the manager’s motive in making the comment was not discriminatory. There had been concerns about the man’s performance and the ET had ‘thought long and hard’ before concluding that the comment had played only a trivial, if any, part in his decision to resign.