12 January, 2011
Forbes Solicitors in Lancashire is warning local employers about the potential liabilities they can face when dismissing an employee following the recent case brought by the former Countryfile presenter Miriam O'Reilly against the BBC.
Ms O'Reilly argued that she was dismissed from Countryfile on the grounds of her age when it moved to a primetime slot. She alleged that the BBC stated she may want to be "careful with those wrinkles when high definition comes in." Under present law, it is unlawful and discriminatory to dismiss any employee on the grounds of age.
Jonathan Holden, specialist Employment Solicitor commented, "Age discrimination is one of the newest forms of discrimination and, as with any form of discrimination, it can potentially carry an award of unlimited compensation. No employer should seek to dismiss an employee on the grounds of age since this can lead to a finding of automatic unfair dismissal together with discrimination. Discrimination claims tend to bring adverse publicity, and inevitably lead to a longer Hearing in Tribunal. Not only does that increase legal costs, the management time and potential damage to the business is huge."
The Equality Act legislation that was brought in last year will make it easier for employees to prove their claims. Discrimination claims are open to all categories of employee, and can even be open to a person who has simply applied for a post with the employer, and has not been employed by them at all. It is therefore very important that every employer has a robust equal opportunities policy and that all managers and staff are trained in implementing that policy.
For assistance with dealing with any employment related matter for your business, please contact the Employment Solicitors at Forbes, the largest specialist team of Employment Lawyers in Lancashire on freephone 0800 689 0831.