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‘Too young’ teenager wins age discrimination case

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An administrative assistant has won her case for unlawful sacking on the basis of being ‘too young’.

Leanne Wilkinson, was 18 years of age when she claimed that she suffered age discrimination following her dismissal from her job as an administrative post at Springwell Engineering in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Reported by the Times newspaper, Wilkinson claimed the company had told her that she was too young for the post and that they needed an older person with more experience.

The tribunal that ruled in her favour said that the company had relied on a “stereotypical assumption that capability equals experience and experience equals older age . . . age was the predominant reason for the decision to dismiss”.

Craig McCracken, an employment lawyer at Nexus solicitors, of Manchester, who acted for Wilkinson, said that it was an important decision with far-reaching consequences.

“There is often an assumption that age discrimination laws are only there to protect older workers but this case is a reminder that everyone is entitled to be treated fairly, whether they’re close to retirement or just starting out in work.”

Wilkinson was awarded £16,081.12, of which £5,000 was for injury to feelings. The company was also ordered to tell prospective employees the dismissal was a breach of the regulations on the grounds of her age and not in relation to capability.

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Annie Hayes

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