Age discrimination issues highlighted by John McCririck case

An employment lawyer is warning that the employment tribunal involving racing personality John McCririck highlights a number of key issues that businesses must be aware of.

McCririck has brought a claim for age discrimination against Channel 4 and TV production company IMG, asking for £3m in compensation.

He was dismissed in October last year after working as a racing pundit since 1984, and is claiming that he lost his job due to age discrimination, with the broadcaster replacing him with a younger broadcasting team headed by Clare Balding.

Oliver McCann, employment partner at Napthens solicitors, warns that the case highlights the risk to businesses of discrimination claims being made by staff and the importance of taking steps to reduce that risk.

He said: “Whether McCririck wins or loses his claim, this case shows how easy it is for an employee to feel discriminated on grounds of age, and the difficulties age discrimination presents for a business.

“What is unique with age discrimination is that all staff within your business have protection under the Equality Act, which makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate because of age.

“Businesses must take steps to ensure they are minimising the risks of age discrimination in the workplace. For instance, making sure the reasons behind decisions affecting staff, such as dismissal, are properly documented and are non-discriminatory with a fair process being followed.

“There should be a tailored equal opportunities policy in place for the business. Staff must also be trained so they understand what may be discriminatory conduct, how to spot it in the workplace and take action where necessary. “By taking a few simple steps, businesses can reduce the risk of costly employment tribunals.”