Thompsons secures key age discrimination win

Thompsons has won the first age discrimination case since new laws were introduced in October 2006, paving the way for a slew of similar cases.

Public sector union Unison instructed Thompsons legal executive Mark Gray on the groundbreaking case of hospital employee Ann Southcott, who was dismissed last October just one day before the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 came into effect.

Gray said: “This case well and truly marks the arrival of age discrimination regulations. We’re likely to see more cases like this in the future”.

The legal action brought in front of the employment tribunal has forced the Royal Cornwall Hospital’s NHS Trust to reinstate Southcott and 35 others in what is considered to be the first age discrimination case to go before an employment tribunal.

A Unison spokesperson pointed to the appointment of a new chief executive in December last year as a catalyst in the decision to reinstate Southcott, adding that he agreed the “dismissals were not right”.

Unison has instructed Thompsons in the past, including on the case of
Walker v Northumberland County Council (1995), the first case in legal history where an employee was awarded damages for ‘psychiatric injury’.
Bevan Brittan partner Jean Sapeta advised the NHS Trust.