A woman has won £4,250 from a Domino’s Pizza store owner in an age discrimination dispute, after being asked her age during an interview.
Janice Walsh applied for a job as a delivery driver at a Domino’s franchise in Strabane, Northern Ireland.
The first question she was asked during the interview was about her age, and the interviewer wrote the number down on paper before stating ‘she didn’t look it’.
When turned down for the job, Walsh believed she was discriminated against due to her age. She contacted the store to raise her concerns and was told that the panel were unaware that it was inappropriate to ask someone their age during an interview.
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With support from the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, Walsh took her claim to franchise owner Justin Quirk. He paid Walsh £4,250 and apologised for the incident.
Jess Kuehne, senior programme manager for ageism at the Centre for Ageing Better, said that a lack of education contributes to age discrimination in the workplace.
She said: “There’s a common saying that ‘ageism is the last acceptable form of discrimination’ and that rings true here. The fact that the panel were unaware that it’s inappropriate to ask someone’s age during an interview shows how far we still have to go in educating people about the dangers of age discrimination.
“Age, just like any other protected characteristic, is wholly irrelevant in how suitable someone is for a role as a delivery driver. And yet this case shows age discrimination in work is still commonplace. We know that more than a third (36%) of 50 to 69-year-olds feel at a disadvantage applying for jobs due to their age.”
Age is one of the protected characteristics for which it is illegal to discriminate against someone for. Others include sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race and disability.
Domino’s issued a statement after the event, which said: “The franchisee in question has since, in unrelated circumstances, left the system and the Strabane store is under new management.
“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive business with a diverse work force and we recognise the important role we play in the communities we serve.”