In the case of Mr C Gregory v Petro Trace Ltd Mr Gregory began working with Petro Trace as a geophysicist since September 2017. Mr Gregory was an experienced geophysicist, having worked in the industry since leaving university. In August 2021, the Respondent decided to terminate Mr Gregory’s employment in order to cut costs, referring to him as “a pensioner” and “not a young person”. Mr Gregory was informed that he was being made redundant and told his employment would terminate in September 2021, although he continued to work until mid-November but was summarily dismissed after questing if he was being singled out due to his age.
Mr Gregory began looking for alternative roles in September 2021 and applied to 74 roles between then and April 2023, including roles abroad and junior to his position with the Respondent. Mr Gregory, however, was offered only three interviews and was unsuccessful in each. In December 2022, he started a role working 12 hours a week at World Duty Free at Gatwick Airport. He also completed a business administration course and a “restart” programme run by Allen & Overy in an attempt to transfer his skills. The Respondent argued that after 6 months of unemployment, Mr Gregory should have taken a lower paid role in the industry and then moved up.
The tribunal however found that Mr Gregory had made strenuous efforts to find alternative work and that it was not unreasonable for him to hold out for an opportunity commensurate with his skills and experience. Further, they found that it was reasonable for him to restrict his hours to part time at World Duty Free so that he could continue to find a role commensurate with his experience. It was also reasonable that he embarks on further study or training while he looks for an alternative role. The tribunal awarded full loss of earnings up to the date of planned retirement.
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