18 year old gets £5000 for injury to feelings after being told she wasn't experienced enough.
A 19-year-old woman who claimed that she was sacked for being too young has been awarded more than £16,000 in compensation after winning a ground-breaking case against her former employer.
It is the first time since age discrimination regulations came into force in October 2006 that they have been properly tested in a case involving young workers.
Leanne Wilkinson, who was then 18, claimed that she suffered age discrimination when she was dismissed from her job as an administrative assistant at Springwell Engineering in Newcastle upon Tyne.
She claimed the company had told her that she was too young for the post and that they needed an older person with more experience.
An employment tribunal ruled in her favour, concluding that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of age.
The tribunal 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”.
Miss Wilkinson was awarded £16,081.12, of which £5,000 was for injury to feelings.
Craig McCracken, an employment lawyer at Nexus solicitors, of Manchester, who acted for Miss Wilkinson, said that it was an important decision with far-reaching consequences. Yes, firms will take on board the lesson "don't offer a job to a youngster", they may be capable, but if they aren't here is another reason why they can sue you.