Case Review: Lecturer brings age discrimination claim

An age discrimination claim has been launched against the University of Kent by a 60-year old lecturer, Mr Stephen Games.

Mr Games is bringing a £750,000 age discrimination claim against the university on the basis that he was not afforded a full-time role in the university’s architecture department.

Evidence was heard from Mr Games at the Ashford Employment Tribunal that his employers had “tailored” the job specification for the full-time role in order to favour candidates with PhDs who, by nature of the architecture profession, would favour younger applicants. He alleges that only since 1986 have architectural students been encouraged to pursue doctorates.

The University of Kent has defended the age discrimination claim on the basis that the requirement for a PhD in architecture is “legitimate and proportionate” and forms part of the University’s long-term teaching and research strategy. It also claims that not having a PhD was just one of many reasons why Mr Games had not been successful in his application for the full-time role.

The £750,000 total claim is composed of loss of earnings and injury to feelings as a direct result of the age discrimination. Mr Games’ argument is that had he been successful in the post he would have remained in the post for another 15 years.

The case has been concluded and a written Judgment is expected from the Employment Tribunal in due course. Tom Street of Do I Have A Case comments: “when drafting job specifications for roles within their organisation, employers need to take care in their wording to ensure that they are not being directly or indirectly discriminatory in any way. There is a danger that an applicant who has failed to gain the role they applied for can launch a discrimination claim in an Employment Tribunal if they feel that the recruitment process has been discriminatory.”