Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In Mr David James v Coedffranc Community Council: 1600068/2018 the Employment Tribunal concluded that an applicant for employment had been directly discriminated against because of his age when the prospective employer refused to employ him because of his age.

Factual background in James v Coedffranc Community Council

The claimant, Mr David James, was 67 years of age at the date of interview for a post of park attendant with the respondent council, Coedffranc Community Council. The previous park attendant had just retired from his previous job at the age of 67.

The successful candidate “S” was 62 years of age at the date of the interview.

The application form used included a space for candidates to fill in their date of birth. The panel that undertook the shortlisting process was the same panel that subsequently undertook the interviews; Councillor Wingrave, Councillor Davies Ms Wendy Thomas (Clerk to the council). Ms Thomas had made a note of candidates’ ages at the shortlisting stage. The applicants that were not shortlisted were younger than the claimant.  Following the shortlisting, two candidates were much stronger overall, the claimant and S. An assessment form was used during the interview which was based on a rating key; for each question the candidate could receive up to 4 marks for their answer from each panel member.

The claimant’s evidence was that he thought his interview was going well right up until Councillor Wingrave said “I’ve just noticed how old you are”. He was then asked whether he intended to only stay in the job for a year or so. Counsellor Wingrave then enquired “How’s your health anyway”.

Following the interviews, the three panel members compared the information and each score individually. When totaling the scores, errors were made.  If the marks had been correctly added up, the claimant would have scored 128 and S 126.  As it was on the day, when the panel’s marks were combined, the claimant had 128 and S was on 130.

On Councillor Wingrave’s scoring sheet for the claimant, there was a handwritten ‘67’ by his name and on S’s sheet, ‘62’ that had been circled.

The law on age discrimination

The Tribunal considered section 13 Equality Act 2010, subsection 1, which provides:

“A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if, because of a protected characteristic, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others.”

The protected characteristic relied upon by the claimant is age. In relation to age discrimination, section 5 EqA provides: “Age  (1) In relation to the protected characteristic of age —  (a) a reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic is a reference to a person of a particular age group;  (b) a reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to persons of the same age group (2) A reference to an age group is a reference to a group of persons defined by reference to age, whether by reference to a particular age or to a range of ages.”

The Tribunal considered whether the treatment of the claimant was “because of” the protected characteristic. The Equality Human Rights Commission Code of Practice states that: “Whilst a protected characteristic needs to be a cause of the less favourable treatment, it does not need to be the only or even the main cause.”

Conclusion and decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal held that the decision made by the respondent not to provide the position of parking attendant to the claimant was direct age discrimination. The Employment Tribunal reached an inference that the Council’s conduct was discriminatory based on the following conduct:

  • Councillor Wingrave’s comments regarding age;
  • The note taking of the ages of the claimant and S by Councillor Wingrave;
  • The circling of the age of the successful candidate S by Councillor Wingrave; and
  • The fact that Councillor Wingrave’s decision was a ‘game changer’ with regards to whether the claimant would be awarded the position (the other two councillors had scored the claimant the best marks)

Our lawyers’ comments on James v Coedffranc Community Council

Melissa Chin, a Legal Executive in the employment team at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers should ensure that they treat all applicants for employment fairly and equally, irrespective of any protected characteristic that an applicant may make – if an employer fails to do so, as in this case, they may find themselves the subject of potentially costly and embarrassing Employment Tribunal proceedings.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in James v Coedffranc Community Council can be found here.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.76 Average

    235 Reviews

    Paul O

    Chris & Rana guided me through a redundancy discussion. Prompt & patient assistance with the documents & meetings. Clear advice & fast responses regarding negotiations. Would definitely recommend & would use again without hesitation.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Outstanding, efficient service. Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jaswant S

    Very very happy with the good service I got Thank you so much for your help

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Mel and Chris were fantastic and supportive throughout! 1000% recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Emma D

    Good responsive service

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mike T

    Good efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Brenda G

    Very professional and helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    Charles A

    Chris Hadrill was recommended to me when I found myself in need of a solicitor at very short notice. He contacted me almost immediately to arrange a call. Chris handled my case in a professional and timely manner and kept me notified throughout. Chris inspired confidence and made me feel I was being cared for. If ever I'm in need of legal representation, I would not hesitate to contact Chris. And will gladly recommend him to family and friends.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rosalind R

    I was very happy with the service that I received from Redmans Solicitors. They were able to advise me accordingly with regards to my employment matter and stay within the agreed costing.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karl B

    Caroline and Chris were so helpful and friendly. Couldn't of asked for a better service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dimitrios P

    Excellent, professional service, in time and within the expected value.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Barbara K

    Everything quickly and fairly. Very professional. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sabrina J

    I received a efficient professional service during the whole process of liasing between myself and my former employer to getting all forms signed and receiving my redundancy payment in full in the summer of this year.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I received legal advice on a redundancy settlement agreement from Redmans Solicitors and was very impressed by the quality of their service. Chris Hadrill is highly experienced in settlement matters and was especially understanding of the particulars of my case, going out of his way to ensure that it was resolved quickly and with the utmost professionalism. I have no hesitation in recommending Redmans to anyone in need of employment advice and settlement resolution.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, with full explanations of everything needed. Both Chris and Mel answered all emails very promptly and were personable and efficient.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I would like to thank Chris Hadrill, in particular who handled my case, for all his hard work, expertise and dedication. He listened with empathy and offered suitable advice, which made me feel valued and confident through a difficult time. I would highly recommend Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 2 months ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago