Teenager was sacked for being too YOUNG: Waitress, 14, wins £2,800 landmark payout after café dismissed her from Saturday job due to ‘health and safety’ concerns about her age

  • Teenager worked two shifts in cafe in Ayrshire when she had just turned 14
  • She said she was told she was being sacked for ‘health and safety’ reasons
  • Told employment tribunal she felt ‘shocked, upset and distressed’ at sacking
  • Panel ruled she was victim of ‘direct discrimination’ and awarded her £2,800

A British teenager has become the youngest person ever to win an age discrimination claim after being fired from her Saturday job for being too young.

The girl worked two shifts in a cafe in Ayrshire when she had just turned 14.

While the majority of age discrimination cases involve employees being ‘too old’, the teenager said she was told she was being sacked for ‘health and safety’ reasons.

She told an employment tribunal in Glasgow she felt ‘shocked, upset and distressed’ over the sacking.

The panel ruled she was the victim of ‘direct discrimination’ and ordered the firm involved to pay her £2,800 in damages.

And the girl’s parents told the Daily Record: ‘Our overwhelming feeling is one of disappointment that this had to go to a tribunal.’ 

The girl was working at an equestrian centre owned by the Daimler Foundation near Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, which has a café and restaurant (pictured)

In December 2019, the girl had completed a trial shift at an equestrian centre owned by the Daimler Foundation near Kilmarnock, which has a café and restaurant.

The panel heard that she had given her age when she applied for the role and filled in forms which included her date of birth.

At the end of her shift, where she waited on tables and worked at the till, the front of house manager Malcolm Easy told the teenager he was ‘pleased’ with her.

The following Saturday, under the impression she had passed her trial shift, the girl worked for four hours.

In 2019, Brooke Shanks won a £3,000 payout after she was demoted from running a kitchen showroom because she was ‘only 21’

But as she was taking an order at the till, another boss told her she should not be doing that and she was given two plates to deliver to a table instead.

She was then sent home early because the café was quiet, the panel heard.

Mr Easy later called her to say he ‘enjoyed working with her’ but she was being sacked as the accountant had said she was too young for ‘health and safety reasons’.

The company claimed she was sacked because the ‘role was too demanding’.

However, the panel ruled that there was no evidence of ‘high demand’ – as the teenager had been sent home when the café was ‘quiet’.

The board, headed by Employment Judge Sandy Kemp, concluded: ‘Mr Easy said that he had told her that the role was too severe, and too stressful, and that she was not able to cope with the severity of the job.

‘Initially he had said that he had ‘sat her down’. Later he said that that had been by telephone. T

he tribunal concluded that it was far more likely that Mr Easy had said something to the effect that the girl was too young for the role, and that the accountant had said that it was for health and safety reasons.’

The judge praised the girl, now aged 15, for the way she presented herself at the hearing.

The ruling read: ‘[The girl] gave her evidence clearly, candidly and calmly, whilst still someone who is very young to be appearing before an employment tribunal as both witness and claimant.

‘The tribunal considered her to be a credible and reliable witness.

‘It was obvious to the tribunal that [the girl] was a young girl, and that would have been more obvious to Mr Easy in December 2019 when she had relatively recently turned 14.

‘Age does not need to be the only reason for the dismissal, nor the principal reason, but only one that is above the trivial or minor.

‘The Daimler Foundation Ltd has not proved that age was not such a factor, beyond the minor or trivial.’

In 2019, an interior design graduate from Edinburgh University, Brooke Shanks, won a £3,000 payout after she was demoted from running a kitchen showroom because she was ‘only 21’.

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