Dunnes Stores’ £40,000 settlement of an age discrimination dispute with a former employee highlights the importance of sound equality policies in the workplace, a HR Team employment law expert has said.
Dunnes Stores (Bangor) Ltd made the settlement with Gloria Dunbar who was working at the Annadale Embankment, Belfast branch when she was told to leave the company at the age of 63.
Since turning 60 she had been placed on a series of fixed-term, renewable contracts until her contract was terminated last year. She alleged the decision was taken due to her age.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN THE WORKPLACE
Breda Cullen, Managing Partner of employment law firm HR Team, said the case shone a spotlight on the need for all employers to be vigilant when it comes to equality policy and procedures at work.
She said: “Although in making this settlement the retailer has not accepted that it was in breach of any equality legislation – and stated clearly its commitment to the principles of equality – the case serves as a reminder to employers of the risks surrounding equality issues at work.
“This case highlights the importance of companies having up to date policies, procedures and training on equality of opportunity.
“Training for line managers, supervisors and senior management on equal opportunities is also vitally important to ensure that the organisation and its members are complying with internal procedures as well as equality legislation.
Ms Cullen added: “Compensation for any sort of discrimination claim is not capped in Northern Ireland and in many cases a high level expertise in employment legislation is required for employers to avoid risk.”