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Woman told to work for a more ‘traditional’ firm wins age claim

A woman who was told that she would be better off working for a more traditional firm has won her claim of age discrimination.

Carolina Gomes, aged 59, worked as an administrator for an estate agency.

In 2015, management became dissatisfied with her work and told her that she needed to cut out mistakes in letters and that she should not focus so much on an old software system that she liked to use.

She had a meeting with a director in 2016 who suggested to her that:

• “this marriage isn’t working” while showing her a letter which she had recently typed
• she would be “better suited to a traditional estate agency”
• she should “sleep on it and decide what she wants to do”.

Ms Gomes had planned to work at the agency until she retired but was upset after the meeting and took time off suffering from stress. She then resigned and brought a claim for age discrimination and constructive dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in her favour. It held that the phrase “better suited to a traditional estate agency” was a reference to her age and the other comments made her feel that she was no longer wanted at the agency.

Employment Judge Bedeau said: “We are of the view that it was a reference to her being old fashioned, set in her ways as a Branch Administrator and unlikely to change. She had adopted old fashioned practices having regard to her length of service in the estate agency industry.

“The ‘traditional’ comment would not have been said to a younger Branch Administrator or Assistant.”

It was decided that the level of compensation should be set at a separate hearing.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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