Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Woman harassed about her age gets £4,000 bias payout

Anna Stirrup had her complaint of ageism upheld
Ufuoma Obahor

A woman harassed by a boss who was fixated with her age has been awarded almost £4,000 in a discrimination payout.

Anna Stirrup was 50 last year when her employer at a dry cleaning business told her she was too old be working five days a week.

Mrs Stirrup worked as shop manager for Ufuoma Obahor in Summers Dry Cleaners in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

A complaint to a Fair Employment Tribunal on the grounds of age discrimination has now been upheld.

It also awarded her more than £2,000 for unlawful deductions to her wages.

The tribunal panel noted an incident when Mr Obahor reacted to Mrs Stirrup taking sick leave in May last year.

“When Mrs Stirrup had been off work sick for four days (Mr Obahor) called at her home and told her that she was unreliable and could not be depended upon,” the panel stated in the decision.

He told her that at her age she should be slowing down and was “too old” to be working five days a week .

The tribunal ruled that Mr Obahor seemed to have “a fixation with the claimant's age which unfortunately led him to making ageist remarks directed against her”.

The panel said they were satisfied the injury to the claimant's feelings could be attributed to Mr Obahor's “acts of harassment”.

Mr Obahor rejected the tribunal's decision and insisted he did not discriminate against his employee.

“I did not at any stage discriminate against Mrs Stirrup,” he said yesterday.

Mrs Stirrup no longer works for the business.

She was awarded £3,500 for the injury to her feelings which, with interest, amounts to £3,780.

She was also awarded £2,087 for unlawful wage deductions.

A claim that Mr Obahor had discriminated against Mrs Stirrup on grounds of religious belief was not upheld by the tribunal.

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