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Blog  »  March 2022  »  Age discrimination case against Asda - Blog
Mar 22

Posted by
Saoirse Moloney

Age discrimination case against Asda

In the case of Hutchinson v Asda stores, Joan Hutchinson was employed as a shop floor assistant within the George clothing department. She worked 25.3 hours a week and enjoyed her role. As part of her role, she stripped deliveries, merchandised on the shop floor, followed planograms for new layouts and delivered excellent customer service.

Her son noticed that his mother was showing symptoms of dementia. During the Summer of 2019, he noticed that her driving skills were impaired when she drove the wrong way around the roundabout. She gave up driving in March 2020 and began travelling to work by bus. She accepted that her dementia was getting worse when she had to walk to work after being unable to find the bus stop. The staff at her branch in Deeside, North Wales, noticed her slowing down at work, becoming flustered and losing her personal belongings.

The tribunal heard that while Ms Hutchinson was shielding in 2020, Ms Weston-Laing went to her home to bring her shopping. The claimant returned to work on the 9th of July 2020, and throughout the course of the day, Weston-Laing was concerned about her performance and needed to be reminded of social distancing.

On her return to work, a colleague looked in her bag when she could not find her keys and bus pass, which violated her dignity. The next day she arrived to work an hour early, as she had the previous day due to revised bus times, but this was seen as another indication of her confusion.

Weston-Laing and another colleague decided to hold a meeting to see if there was anything that the store could do to support her. The claimant became upset and aggressive saying that she did not need help and that if she did, she would ask for it. She was also asked to speak to occupational health and said, “I cannot do my job, I will leave.” She then walked out and did not return to work after being signed off sick.

She resigned in September 2020 after she felt like she was being pushed out of the business and too old to be there.

Mrs Hutchinson won her claims of age and disability discrimination as well as constructive dismissal.

Employers need to be aware that even well-meaning comments and actions can be held to amount to discrimination or even harassment on the ground of disability and age. Asking older employees if they would like to retire is risky and can make them feel unwanted and upset.

Related Articles: 

Case Law: Discriminatory Dismissal

Don't Get Caught Out: Discrimination Case Law



Posted in Discrimination, Employment Tribunals


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