Employee nicknamed “half-dead Dave” awarded £13,000 for injury to his feelings

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In 2020 Clarkes Mechanical Ltd decided to cut its costs because of a downturn in work. Due to this Mr Robson, a 69-year-old plumber and heating engineer working for the company, was unexpectedly told he was going to be made redundant. There was no warning given and he wasn’t given any information as to why he was being made redundant. Shortly after this meeting, Mr Robson was given a copy of the scoring criteria used and he accused it of “fabricating” evidence.

He believed the dismissal was unfair and was based on age discrimination. He then alleged that his colleagues referred to him as “half-dead Dave”.

Although there was no direct evidence to suggest that Mr Robson had been dismissed because of his age, the company was unable to explain its decision and because the scoring criteria was created after Mr Robson’s dismissal it was not score fairly and couldn’t be considered  contemporaneous evidence to support their decision to dismiss him. Mr Robson had been a highly skilled, versatile worker who had no performance or conduct issues, inferring that his dismissal was due to his age.

Additionally, the tribunal accepted that the nickname “half-dead” was an age-related epithet and was derogatory.  The tribunal found that the nickname was used in general circulation, had been used on-site and no-one had intervened to stop it, amounting to direct age discrimination.

Written by
Astons Solicitors
29th November 2022