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Woman told not to let her hormones get ‘out of control’ wins discrimination case

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Mrs L McCabe v Selazar Limited a middle-aged woman regarded as “menopausal” by her younger male boss has won an age discrimination case after being told not to let her hormones get “out of control”, an employment tribunal has heard.

Louise McCabe, then 55, was told by Jack Williams, a tech chief executive, to “calm down, don’t let the hormones get out of control” during a “heated exchange” at a company meeting. She is now in line for compensation for age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The tribunal judge found that the 29-year-old entrepreneur viewed older people as “not familiar” with the IT business and viewed Mrs McCabe, a finance director, as a “menopausal woman”.

After Mrs McCabe raised concerns over how employees at the e-commerce firm were treated, he stripped her of her role as company director and subsequently fired her.

Mrs McCabe, now 57, who was a founding director and shareholder at tech start-up Selazar in 2014, will be compensated after the judge found that Mr Williams “would not have said this to a younger person”. Mr Williams denied making the comments.

Concluding that Mrs McCabe had been the victim of age discrimination by Mr Williams, Judge Jillian Brown said: “On all the evidence, the Tribunal decided that it could conclude that at least part of the reason for (her) dismissal was her age.

“(Selazar) had asked (the recruitment consultant) to look for a younger person for the finance department; Mr Williams viewed (Mrs McCabe) as an older woman; Mr Williams considered that older people were not familiar with IT businesses.”

A hearing to determine the level of compensation Mrs McCabe will receive will take place at a later date.

Please see below a company statement from Selazar:

“Selazar is disappointed by the decision of the Central London Employment Tribunal and disputes the claims made in the case as well as the alleged comments reported. We are an equal opportunities employer and have lodged an appeal to this decision. Given this, we are not able to comment further at this time.”

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