Mr Lancaster began employment as a Senior Art Director at marketing agency TBWA Manchester (TBWA) on 24 February 2003.
In 2009, Mr Lancaster was put at risk of redundancy alongside the two other Senior Art Directors. The pool was assessed against selection criteria. Mr Lancaster was not consulted about the criteria. He received the lowest marks.
Mr Lancaster raised a grievance regarding the fact that he had not been consulted and as a result the pool was scored again. Mr Lancaster still received the lowest score. Mr Lancaster was dismissed by reason of redundancy on 13 May 2009. He was 50 years old – the oldest in the pool.
Mr Lancaster brought a claim of age discrimination and unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal (ET) in relation to his selection for redundancy. Mr Lancaster suffered from a disability and also brought a claim of disability discrimination also in relation to his selection.
The ET dismissed the claims of age and disability discrimination but upheld the claim for unfair dismissal on the basis that Mr Lancaster had not been properly or fairly consulted with.
Mr Lancaster appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in relation to both the age discrimination claim and the disability discrimination claim. He also appealed in relation to the amount of compensation for his unfair dismissal claim.
The EAT dismissed Mr Lancaster’s appeal in relation to his age discrimination claim.
Mr Lancaster tried to argue that the advertising industry as a whole is “ageist”. The EAT disagreed with this argument; two other Senior Art Directors in the same pool were in their late forties and Mr Lancaster was also employed by TBWA when he was in his forties.
The EAT also dismissed Mr Lancaster’s appeal in relation to his disability discrimination claim, but upheld his appeal in relation to the quantum of his unfair dismissal claim. This aspect of his claim was therefore remitted to the ET for reconsideration.