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Age discrimination - Conciliations

     

    Employment​ 

    Offered fewer shifts once turned 18 (Feb 2014)

    A young man was employed by a major store as a casual shelf packer, but when he turned 18 and was entitled to the adult pay rate, he was offered fewer shifts. He complained about this to the store’s local management and was told that this was because fewer shifts were available due to a drop-off in demand. However he said that other employees were still being given work.

    The man made a complaint of age discrimination to the Board, after which he was given no shifts for several months. He said that when he rang the store to ask about work, the person he spoke to said they had been told not to speak to him of give him any shifts because he had made a complaint.

    The store management denied that this had occurred, and said that they did offer the man work at another location. He said he didn’t want this as it was less convenient and he knew there was work at his previous location.

    A conciliation conference was held at which the store representatives had a positive approach. After the conciliation an agreement was reached that the store would pay the man $3,500 for economic and non-economic loss. The man continued to work at the store, and the local manager with whom he had his initial difficulties was moved to another store.  

    Told she was too young

    The complainant worked in an administrative position, which supported a more senior position. Her manager yelled at her repeatedly and told her that she was too young and should look for another job. He said that because of her age she could not possibly have the skills required. He said that he did not value her as a member of the team. He excluded her from meetings and began to give her very short deadlines and to stand over her while she worked.

    When she applied for a secondment he said that he would have to tell her new employer that he had concerns about her performance, and that he would not support the secondment. He then began to performance manage her, insisting on monthly performance meetings. The complainant began to take sick leave and annual leave, and subsequently resigned.

    The complainant performed well in administrative positions held both before and after this position, and had the qualifications required for the position. At conciliation a financial settlement was agreed to reimburse the complainant for the leave she used prior to her resignation.    

    Transport decision based on age

    A woman made a complaint of age discrimination after a transport provider denied her use of particular equipment because her child was over 12 months old. She claimed that the weight of the child was the relevant factor rather than their age. Her child was quite underweight for their age.

    The transport provider relied on research showing that after 12 months, most children would be too large or heavy to be accommodated according to manufacturing specifications.   However the complaint was settled when they agreed to provide the woman with the equipment at a later time, to the best of their ability.    

    Sacked after 11 years

    A man of Chinese ethnicity, who is in his 60s, had worked as a labourer for a manufacturing company for 11 years when he was sacked by his employer. His trade union made a complaint of age and race discrimination on his behalf as his written English was limited.

    The company denied that the dismissal had anything to do with the man’s race or age, but claimed it was because his work performance was unsatisfactory as he supposedly couldn’t follow instructions and caused damage to materials. The union argued that there was no explanation of why his work performance had not been an issue before during his 11 years service.

    The complaint was settled at conciliation when the employer agreed to pay the complainant $6,000 compensation for the loss of his job.

    Younger applicants chosen

    A woman in her 50s applied to a recruitment agency for work and was called in for an interview to be referred for a position. She alleged that during the interview she was asked her date of birth, and when she questioned the justification for this the consultant appeared to become less enthusiastic about her and the interview deteriorated.

    She was not put forward for the position, and later she found out that the four people put forward were all in their 20s. Also, the successful candidate had significantly less qualifications and experience than she did. The requirement for younger candidates had not been part of the brief from the client company for the position. The woman made a complaint of age discrimination to the Board.

    The agency said that the decision was not discriminatory, but agreed that a question about age on their application form and the question at the interview could have led to the perception of discrimination. At conciliation, the agency agreed to remove the date of birth field from their application form, to implement training for all staff on preventing discrimination, and to monitor and provide feedback to staff on EEO issues. The agency offered the woman a financial settlement but she declined this, saying that her goal was to effect change not to receive compensation.         

    Put off after three-month probation

    A man in his 60s was employed as a sales worker by a car dealer, but was put off before the end of his three-month probation. He alleged that this was because of age discrimination. The man said that on one occasion his manager had called him a “senile old p…..”, and on another he had called him a “silly old fool” in front of other staff when he arrived late to a meeting.

    The company said that if they had been concerned about the man’s age they wouldn’t have employed him in the first place. They said that he had been put off because his sales performance was not at the required level. The man disputed the employer’s interpretation of the sales figures and said that his sales had been reasonable. The complaint was resolved when the company agreed to pay him $5,000.
            
         

    Made redundant after retirement questions

    A man who worked for his employer for many years, alleged that he was repeatedly asked about his plans for retirement, and that he was made redundant when he made it clear that he was not intending to retire in the near future.

    The company denied that pressure had been put on him to retire and said that the redundancy was genuine and based on a general restructure to define the future direction of the business. The matter was resolved by the company paying the man's legal costs relating to an industrial claim about the terms of the redundancy itself.       

    Age and personal style

    A woman worked in promotions for an entertainment provider. She alleged that the manager made comments on her age and personal style, and said that “she had a lot to learn”. She eventually left the job and felt her confidence had been seriously undermined. She made a complaint of age and sex discrimination to the Board.

    The manager said that he was not discriminating against her, but was only giving her “tips” on how to improve her work. The complaint was resolved when the company agreed to give the woman a statement of regret, a statement of employment and a payment of $2,000.

    Told not entitled to redundancy

    The complainant worked as a cleaner and was made redundant along with other staff. The employer advised her that she would not be entitled to receive a redundancy payment as she was over 65. When she complained to the Board, the employer agreed to pay her full redundancy benefits (an additional $12,000).

    Forced to resign

    The complainant worked for her employer for 20 years. Towards her 60th birthday, her manager began to warn her about her work performance and say things like, 'You're getting old, you should retire, you're going blind'. She eventually resigned. As soon as she left, her manager allegedly told that her that she was in fact a very good worker and he would call her back on a casual basis when needed. She complained to the Board, and after a conciliation conference the employer agreed to pay her the income she would have earned if she hadn't been forced to resign.             

    Goods and services    

    Accessing superannuation account online

    A man lodged a complaint against his superannuation fund because he could no longer access his account details online after turning 65. The fund agreed that this was the case, but said that there were few members in this category and it would be financially prohibitive to provide services in this way to the man. They claimed that they would have to build a whole new website, including the various scripts and programs required to calculate the account status of these few people.

    The man argued that the fund should prepare itself for increased numbers of people who like him, were not intending to retire from employment for some years to come. The matter was resolved when the man accepted an offer that he would be sent detailed quarterly account statements. The man was also advised that he could access information of his account via the telephone service.         

    Accommodation    

    Property denied to couple with young children

    A couple with five children lodged complaints with the Board against the owner of a rental property and the real estate agent. They alleged that they had been refused rental accommodation because of the age of some of their children. The owner agreed that he had not wanted to rent the property to the complainants because he did not think the property was suitable for young children. The owner and real estate agent agreed to pay $5,000 to the complainants to resolve the complaint.