55-year-old man ‘sacked for being too old’
A 55-year-old man who was sacked, for what he claims as being too old, by a golf club he worked at, has been awarded more than £50,000 by an employment tribunal.
The Kent and Sussex Courier has reported that David Ells has been awarded £52,200 after he was dismissed from Nizels Golf Club in Kent.
Ells, a former school governor and parish council chairman, had been working as the membership sales manager at the club for eight years from 2005 to 2013.
He told Ashford Employment Tribunal that no other manager was over the age of 50 and that the position of group sales membership manager was offered to a 28-year-old and not to him, despite him having a good track record.
He added that he had been unfairly treated and had had false complaints made about him.
“I was given a staff disciplinary after a mystery shop call and, although I wasn’t great, I had been short of staff and was working extra hours on my days off,” he told the newspaper.
“I was given a first written warning – they didn’t do the verbal warning – but there were other people in the club who had done worse than I had done and they didn’t get a disciplinary at all.”
He said he went to hospital with what was thought to be a heart attack in November 2012, but it turned out to be a stress-related problem.
“I was off work for two weeks but after four days coming back they gave me a disciplinary for not sending a report back straight away,” he stated.
He claimed he was called in by his bosses in April 2013 and was told staff members had written complaints about him – which later turned out to be made up.
“I was called in and they were trying to get rid of me on conduct but it was performance and I proved in court that they were trying to get rid of me for the wrong thing, ” he said.
Ells represented himself at the tribunal but said he received “fantastic” help and guidance from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
He won the tribunal against the Club Company, owner of Nizels, for unfair dismissal and age discrimination. The £52,200 was made up of lost wages and injury to feelings.
“I had done nothing wrong and that’s what hurts the most. I loved my job and I still do not fully understand what was going on.
“It had been the worst year of my life, I lost my job, my status, my friends and it was tough,” he said.
The golf club has declined to comment, according to the Kent and Sussex Courier.