Woman who suffered age discrimination at interview wins pay out

A woman whose job application for a driver’s job at a pizza firm was rejected because of her age, has won compensation.

Janice Walsh was wrongly asked about her age during an interview and was subsequently awarded £4,250 by a Domino’s Pizza store owner by way of compensation.

She had applied for a job as a delivery driver at a Domino’s franchise in Strabane, Northern Ireland and the first question she was asked was about her age.

Panel ‘unaware of problem’

When turned down for the job, Ms Walsh said she believed she had been rejected because of her age and contacted the store to raise the issue.

She was told that the interview panel were unaware that it was inappropriate to ask someone their age during an interview.

Ms Walsh took her claim to franchise owner Justin Quirk, with the support of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and he agreed to pay £4,250 and apologised for the incident.

It’s usually against the law to discriminate against a job applicant based on any of the following, known as protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

There can be exceptions, so it is wise to consult a legal professional before making a decision.

Jess Kuehne, senior programme manager for ageism at the Centre for Ageing Better, said that a lack of education contributes to age discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination still commonplace

She said: “There’s a common saying that ‘ageism is the last acceptable form of discrimination’ and that rings true here. The fact that the panel were unaware that it’s inappropriate to ask someone’s age during an interview shows how far we still have to go in educating people about the dangers of age discrimination.

“Age, just like any other protected characteristic, is wholly irrelevant in how suitable someone is for a role as a delivery driver. And yet this case shows age discrimination in work is still commonplace.”

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