Man told he was too old to apply for van driver job awarded €3,400

Man told he was too old to apply for van driver job awarded €3,400
Patrick Matier

An Antrim man who was told he was too old to apply for a post as a van driver and store person has been awarded £3,000 (€3,400) by an industrial tribunal.

Patrick Matier was 63 and took a case alleging age discrimination against the Spring and Airbrake Ireland Limited commercial vehicle parts firm at Nutts Corner in Co Antrim.

He said: "I had been keen to get this job, and to be told I was too old to even apply for it really shook me.

"I had been off work for a while and I was trying to get back in to work.

"It was disheartening and it made me angry that my application could be dismissed in this way just because of my age."

In February 2018 he had called at the premises after learning of a vacancy from the Social Security Office in Antrim.

His evidence, which the tribunal has accepted, is that when he was giving his details to a man at the firm's premises, he was asked his age.

When he replied that he was 63, he said he was told: "I was looking for a younger person who I could train and move upstairs."

When Mr Matier asked if there was any point in continuing the conversation he was told: "No, not really."

In its finding, the tribunal acknowledged that the incident "had the effect of significantly discouraging the claimant".

It added: "This had been caused entirely by the behaviour of the respondent and this behaviour was motivated by age discrimination."

The case was supported by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Its senior law officer Mary Kitson said: "This case is an important reminder to all employers not to make generalised assumptions about people on grounds, such as age, which are protected by anti-discrimination law."

She added: "No employer should be making assumptions about a person's ability, or suitability for training and promotion, because of their age."

PA


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