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Sales rep nicknamed ‘Gramps’ awarded £63,000

The Telegraph has reported that a sales rep nicknamed “Gramps” by a younger colleague has been awarded £63,000 after winning his age discrimination claim. Alan Dove, 61, who had 25 years’ service, was the oldest member of the sales team. He found being called ‘Gramps’ disrespectful and hurtful, particularly as it was used for a number of years. Mr Thomas, head of sales, considered the nickname “an affectionate term of address” and not insulting, but accepted it was because Dove was the oldest member in the team. Thomas wrote in an email that a client had complained that Dove was “too long in the tooth and was a traditional sales rep which doesn’t work for their business any more”, but the tribunal heard that the client had categorically denied doing so. 

The tribunal concluded Dove was dismissed because some of the clients that he was dealing with had been transferred to the considerably younger sales manager, Thomas. This meant that Dove had less work and therefore generated less sales, which in turn provided less income for the company. The tribunal also found that phrases such as “long in the tooth”, “old fashioned” and “traditional” indicated negative views almost certainly based on Dove’s age. Furthermore, the employer had accepted that Dove was referred to by an age specific nickname of ‘Gramps’ by one of its own employees. Mr Dove, was awarded £63,390.95, including £9,000 for injury to feelings.

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The aim is to provide summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. In particular, where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out full details of all the facts, the legal arguments presented by the parties and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links provided to access full details. If no link is provided contact us for further information. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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