Mr Lawrence Court, who worked for Dennis Publishing Limited as its promotions director for a period of X years, submitted claims to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal and age discrimination after he was made redundant without warning in 2007.
The Employment Tribunal heard evidence at a full hearing in the London Central Tribunal in 2008 that Mr Court was made redundant without proper warning, that the company had failed to apply a proper consultation or selection process and that it had failed to consider whether there was any suitable alternative employment for him at the firm before he was dismissed. It also heard that Mr Court’s replacement at the firm, a 33-year-old Mr Rob Osbourn, was 22 years younger than Mr Court.
After hearing evidence from both parties the Tribunal decided that age discrimination in the redundancy process could be inferred from a variety of sources, including the fact that the company’s founded, Mr Felix Dennis, had previously written a book stating that it was unwise to “leave senior employees in the job too long”, and that this ethos had permeated the culture of the company.
Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This is a quite unique claim for age discrimination – it’s normally quite difficult to prove that an employee has been treated less favourably because of their age and Mr Court was able to present more evidence than is normally available in such cases. This evidence turned out to be key in the Tribunal being able to infer that Mr Court had been discriminated against because of his age in the redundancy process.”