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Telling 59-year-old she was better suited to a ‘traditional’ agency was age discrimination

Makbool Javaid

In Gomes v 1. Winkworth Estate Agents 2. Gold,  Gomes (G), aged 59 was an administrative assistant. Gold, a director, queried errors in a letter G had typed. He said: “This marriage isn’t working”, that G would be “better suited to a traditional estate agency” and that G should “sleep on it and decide what she wanted to do”. She understood Gold to be saying it was time to leave. After unsuccessfully lodging a grievance, G resigned. An ET upheld G’ direct age discrimination claim, as the words, “better suited to a traditional estate agency”, was a reference to G’ age and the “traditional” comment would not have been said to a younger assistant. The ET also found that the comment amounted to harassment related to age because although Gold may not have intended to violate G’s dignity, that was the effect. G had also been constructively dismissed, as all the comments taken together made her feel unwanted and her grievance had not been conducted independently and fairly.

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