Mr Jessemey worked as a car body repairer. Rowstock told Mr Jessemey that it would cost too much to continue employing him and that the company did not employ manual workers after the age of 65 for “health and safety and quality reasons”. He was dismissed shortly before his 66th birthday, by reason of retirement.
Mr Jessemey sought work with the help of a recruitment agency, Brook Street Bureau. However, Rowstock had provided Brook Street Bureau with a very negative reference which would cause no employer to offer work to Mr Jessemey.
Mr Jessemey brought claims for unfair dismissal and direct age discrimination in relation to the dismissal, and victimisation in relation to the negative reference.
In order to effect a fair retirement dismissal and avoid age discrimination, Rowstock had to follow the statutory retirement procedure which was then in force (but which has now been repealed). Rowstock conceded that it had not done so and the Tribunal accordingly held that Mr Jessemey’s “retirement” was an automatically unfair dismissal and act of direct age discrimination.
In relation to the reference, the Tribunal held that this was an act of victimisation by Rowstock. The negative reference varied drastically from a previous reference given to Brook Street Bureau by another employer of Mr Jessemey. It referred to the Tribunal proceedings which, by that point, were ongoing. However, the Tribunal held that this victimisation was not unlawful victimisation as the Equality Act 2010 only covers post-termination discrimination and harassment – not post-termination victimisation.
The Tribunal awarded Mr Jessemey over £24,000 in compensation, including £3,000 for injury to feelings.
Mr PA Jessemey v Rowstock Ltd and Mr J Davis, Reading Employment Tribunal, case numbers 2700838/2011 and 2701156/2011