Employment tribunal finds age discrimination claims against a senior manager’s employer were treated “less seriously than a complaint of sex or race discrimination would have been treated”.
A banker has won his case for age discrimination and unfair dismissal in a case which will have important ramifications for employers.
Niels Kirk claimed unfair dismissal, direct and indirect age discrimination, age discrimination harassment and age discrimination victimisation against his former employer Citibank in the case which was heard at East London Employment Tribunal. The harassment, indirect discrimination and victimisation claims were thrown out.
Kirk, who was represented by Leigh Day Solicitors, was made redundant from his role as chairman and managing director of Citibank’s energy and natural resources division for Europe Middle East and Africa in 2017 following a restructure. He was 55 at the time and had worked at the bank for 26 years.
Kirk claimed there was a culture of older managers making way for younger ones at the bank and that he was told by a senior manager that he was “old and set in his ways”.
He made a complaint about his treatment at the time, saying it was based on his age, but that and a subsequent appeal were dismissed.
The tribunal found that a younger candidate was chosen for the role before the job description had been drawn up and that the bank had already decided to dismiss Kirk before consultation on his future began.
It also ruled that managers had not tried to find him a suitable alternative position and that Kirk’s complaints of age discrimination were treated “less seriously than a complaint of sex or race discrimination would have been treated”.
Citibank denies that it had discriminated against Kirk on grounds of his age, arguing that there was only a four-year difference between him and his colleague.