Mrs Martin worked as a cleaner for a dentist. She was left a note in her cleaning cupboard just two days after her 70th birthday stating that due to her age and ill health reasons she presented a health and safety risk and, therefore, was dismissed. Mrs Martin brought a claim of direct age discrimination.


The tribunal found that Mrs Martin had been treated less favourably on the grounds of her age because her employer knew how old she was, the dismissal letter had referenced her age and her employer had no medical evidence to say that Mrs Martin was a high health and safety risk.

The tribunal then looked at whether the less favourably treatment could be justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Despite accepting the employer’s legitimate aims of wanting the dentistry cleaned to a high standard and protecting Mrs Martin’s health and safety, it was not proportionate to dismiss Mrs Martin without any consultation at all and based only on assumptions about her health.

The Tribunal awarded Mrs Martin just over £1,000 in compensation.

Martin -v- SS Photay & Associates (12 Jun 2007; ET/1100242/07)