The facts

Mr Liladhar (aged 60) was employed as an internal auditor at Barnardo’s from 1990. He later became a senior auditor and held this role for over ten years, performing well although he did not have a recognised professional accountancy qualification.

Barnardo’s also employed two graduate trainees to work across its audit department. Both were aged in their late twenties. These trainees were encouraged to undertake training and acquire the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification (“CCA”). Mr Liladhar was never encouraged in the same way, despite his requests for training.

Barnardo’s decided to streamline the audit department in 2009. This would result in redundancies but also the creation of two qualified ‘senior auditor' posts.  The person specification for these roles required applicants to have a recognised professional accountancy qualification (CCA). As Mr Liladhar did not have the CCA qualification, he was not considered for the new roles. He was selected for redundancy and dismissed. The two qualified employees who had previously been the department’s trainees were recruited into the new senior auditor roles.

Mr Liladhar brought claims of unfair dismissal and direct age discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal’s decision

The Employment Tribunal decided that this was not a genuine redundancy situation, and that Mr Liladhar had been unfairly dismissed. It therefore upheld his claim in this regard.

The Employment Tribunal also upheld Mr Liladhar’s direct age discrimination claim. It held that Barnardo’s had treated him differently to the younger graduate trainees (who later became qualified auditors) without adequate explanation. Barnardo’s had not afforded Mr Liladhar the same opportunities in terms of training. An investment in Mr Liladhar had seemed unattractive to Barnardo’s due to the likely duration of his future employment.

The Employment Tribunal decided that Barnardo’s would not have treated a younger, unqualified auditor in the same way as Mr Liladhar: as it would have invested more time and resources in training that hypothetical younger employee, believing it would have been deemed to be in the organisation’s interest to do so.

The judgment is available here.

Mr. D Liladhar v. Barnardo’s Ltd, 3201718/10