Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland teenager wins age discrimination case

Industrial tribunal sign, Belfast
Image caption The case was heard at the industrial tribunal in Belfast

A Northern Ireland teenager has received compensation at an industrial tribunal after winning a case of age discrimination against her employer.

Jenna Greer, was employed at Heather Coulter's Alphreso Cafe at the Abbeycentre in Newtownabbey.

Miss Greer was dismissed after she asked for entitlement to the minimum wage for turning 18.

She was awarded over £1,000 on the grounds of age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The tribunal heard that Miss Greer had been employed as a dishwasher at the cafe for eight hours per week from 4 October 2008 and was dismissed on 11 October 2010.

She was to become 18 on 6 October 2010 and told Ms Coulter this on 5 October, so her wages could be adjusted from £4 an hour to the minimum wage for a person over that age of £4.92 per hour.

Ms Coulter was away on leave for a few days and on her return Miss Greer telephoned her employer to find out her shift hours for the following week.

The tribunal heard Ms Coulter had told Miss Greer there were no further shifts for her as the claimant "had been cheeky with her on 5 October".

Miss Greer wrote to ask if she had been dismissed or whether she was to get more shifts and received no reply to her letter.

She wrote again on 22 October referring to her previous letter to which she had received no reply.

'Callous'

Miss Greer said she must assume that she had been dismissed and that she felt she had been dismissed "because of her request to be paid the minimum wage".

She asked for a grievance to be considered and to appeal the dismissal, but received no reply to this letter and has "heard nothing" from Ms Coulter, who did not make any response to the tribunal claim.

In its decision, the tribunal said Miss Greer had been dismissed "in the most callous way".

It said she had to telephone Ms Coulter to find out she had been dismissed.

The tribunal said it was clear that Ms Coulter "did not wish to pay the increased minimum wage to the claimant and therefore dismissed her without communication".

It awarded Miss Greer £747.84 for unfair dismissal.

The tribunal also found Ms Coulter discriminated against Miss Greer on the grounds of her age and awarded the teenager £500 for injury to her feelings as a consequence.

She was also awarded £78.72 of two weeks notice pay.

The tribunal said Miss Greer had not sought Jobseekers Allowance and had been unable to obtain alternative employment.

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