The facts

Mrs Campbell (aged 54) applied for the position of Internal Sales Manager with Icopal Limited (“Icopal”). She had passed two initial interviews and an initial psychometric test. At the second interview, she was told that any job offer would be subject to satisfactory completion of an additional psychometric test in Berlin. This would be carried out by a specialist, Mr Dalsgaard.

After the third and final interview, Mrs Campbell was successful and was offered the role, subject to satisfactory completion of the additional psychometric test in Berlin. For this test, Mrs Campbell had to provide her date of birth as it was needed to work out the results.

After the test, Mr Dalsgaard had a feedback session with Mrs Campbell where he informed her of her extremely low scores on all the analytical tests. Mr Dalsgaard also provided feedback to Icopal on Mrs Campbell’s performance. This resulted in Icopal withdrawing Mrs Campbell’s offer of employment as it considered that she would struggle to analyse complex data within the role.

Until the second psychometric test, her feedback had been wholly positive. Mrs Campbell considered that the withdrawal of the offer was based on her age.

Mrs Campbell brought a claim for direct age discrimination.

The decision

The Tribunal rejected Mrs Campbell’s age discrimination claim.

Mrs Campbell had not shown on the balance of probabilities that Icopal had treated her less favourably because of her age by withdrawing the conditional job offer made to her. She had failed to get past the first hurdle and shift the burden of proof to Icopal.

The Tribunal found that it was common ground that the job offer was conditional on the satisfactory completion of the psychometric test and that Mrs Campbell had made no complaint about the test itself or how it was conducted. There was no dispute that she had failed the test.

The Tribunal found as a matter of fact that Icopal wanted to get the appointment right. There was no suggestion that other candidates were treated any differently in terms of the process. Mrs Campbell had failed to identify any real or hypothetical comparator.

The Tribunal found it difficult to see what else Icopal could have done but to withdraw the offer, given Mrs Campbell’s test results and the reservations expressed by Mr Dalsgaard (whose services and specialist expertise they had specifically sought).

The judgment is available here.

Campbell v Icopal Ltd, Manchester Employment Tribunal case number ET/2400854/12