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Accountant loses age discrimination claim after being called ‘demanding millenial’

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Mr J Patel v Lucy A Raymond & Sons Limited Mr Patel is a 26-year-old man who was first diagnosed with dyslexia in 2011, when he was in the sixth form at school and struggling with his A-Levels. In 2020, Jay Patel was employed by insurance firm Lucy A Raymond & Sons for just over a month.

Originally, the firm were looking to recruit a fully qualified accountant. However, managing director Lucy Raymond-Williams made an exception when hiring Mr Patel because he was dyslexic. Dyslexia was a matter of ‘huge importance’ to Mrs Raymond-Williams, as she had relatives with the condition and had also previously set up a dyslexia charity.

After going into national lockdown two days into his job, Mr Patel was forced to work from home. Mr Patel struggled with his work, to the extent that colleagues expressed concerns regarding his capability to perform in his role.

In December 2020, just one month into his job, Mrs Raymond-Williams decided to dismiss Mr Patel because she had “taken the wrong decision in giving a dyslexic person the job”. When Mr Patel asked for feedback at his dismissal meeting, he was told by Mrs Raymond-Williams that he was “too demanding, in common with his generation of millennials”.

Employment Judge Stephen Heath ruled Mr Patel was discriminated on grounds of his disability by being sacked over his dyslexia, criticising the company for making a ‘sudden about-turn’.

Judge Heath dismissed his age discrimination claim after ruling Mr Patel was offended because he had to overcome barriers rather than being offended due to his age.

Other allegations of discrimination were also dismissed.

Mr Patel will be awarded compensation for disability discrimination at a later date.

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