The decision of the Northern Ireland employment tribunal in McCoy v McGregor and Sons Ltd (24.10.07, ET case no.00237/07IT) is a cautionary tale for employers who have not eliminated age-related language and questions from their recruitment exercises.

The employer’s advertisement for a timber sales representative asked for someone with ‘youthful enthusiasm’.  One of the applicants, who was 58, was asked whether he still had the necessary ‘drive and enthusiasm’ to be successful both when he enquired about the post and at two subsequent interviews.  Combined with the fact that two younger applicants were appointed, neither of who were asked about their drive and enthusiasm, and the inconsistent scoring applied to the candidates, the tribunal concluded that the applicant had been directly discriminated against on grounds of age. In the employer’s mind, there was a clear link between his age and the motivation he would bring to his work.

The judgment is available here.

Thomas John Terence McCoy v (1) James McGregor & Sons Ltd, (2) Mr Dixon, (3) Mr Aiken; Northern Ireland Industrial Tribunal, Case Ref 237/7