Employer loses Menopause Age Discrimination case after telling Employee to ‘Calm Down’
- Employment Law
- 4th Nov 2022
A 55 year old women successfully claimed age discrimination and unfair dismissal, after being told to ‘calm down’ and not let her ‘hormones get out of control’. Julie Sabba, an Associate in the Employment team considers the case, which resulted in an award of over £125,000. Facts Louise McCabe was employed as a […]
By Zara GreenMLP Law
A 55 year old women successfully claimed age discrimination and unfair dismissal, after being told to ‘calm down’ and not let her ‘hormones get out of control’. Julie Sabba, an Associate in the Employment team considers the case, which resulted in an award of over £125,000.
Louise McCabe was employed as a Finance executive by an IT business, Selazar. She was managed by her 29 year old male boss, Gareth Burns. During a heated exchange at work, Ms McCabe was told by her boss, “Calm down, don’t let the hormones get out of control”. Mr Burns also admitted to viewing Ms McCabe as a “menopausal woman” and describing older people as “not familiar” with e-commerce.
Furthermore, it was established that Mr Burns had told a recruitment consultant to find a younger team member, who was ‘more in tune’ with a young tech start company.
Ms McCabe was dismissed for allegedly sharing confidential information and raised a claim for unfair dismissal and age discrimination.
Age is one of the characteristics protected by The Equality Act 2010, with individuals being protected from discrimination on the grounds of their age.
An employer has a duty not to treat employees less favourably, on the grounds of their age.
In upholding Ms McCabe’s claims the Judge determined that at least part of the reason for her dismissal was her age and that she had been upset and humiliated by the treatment that she had endured at work. She was awarded over £125,000 with £20,000 of that representing an award for injury to feelings.
This case is a pertinent reminder to employers of the expense and reputational damage associated with making personal and hurtful comments to employees in the workplace. To minimise risk, employers are advised to ensure all staff, particularly management, are trained in using appropriate language at work and avoiding slurs of any nature but particularly those connected to protected characteristics under equality legislation.
About the expert
Stephen is the Owner of MLP Law and leads our Commercial, IP and Dispute Resolution teams which provide advice on all aspects of the law relating to mergers, acquisitions, financing, re-structuring, complex commercial contracts, standard trading terms, share options, shareholder and partnership agreements, commercial dispute resolution, joint venture and partnering arrangements, IT and Technology law, Intellectual Property, EU and competition law, Brexit and GDPR.
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