Guy’s and St Thomas’ ordered to pay out after rejecting middle-age man for job because he wouldn’t ‘fit’ with younger team

Josh Salisbury (18 January, 2021)

The tribunal found the applicant was discriminated against because of his age

34403Exterior of St Thomas' Hospital

Guy’s and St Thomas’ refused a well-qualified candidate a job because he is middle-aged, a tribunal has found.

Neil McClements, 50, was rejected for a project manager role at the Trust because officials feared he would not “fit in” with a younger team, a hearing was told, despite being the best-performing candidate in an interview.

Now the Trust has been ordered to pay Mr McClements £7,580.14 after being found to have discriminated against the father-of-two because of his age and sex.

A hearing at the London South tribunal found that a younger woman was employed instead.

When Mr McClements was called to be rejected for the role, which would have paid around £40,000 a year, his would-be boss told him she would be “uncomfortable asking you to do things given you have an 11-year-old daughter.”

The tribunal also heard that he was told it was “better to employ someone at an early stage of their career as they would then progress to develop their career over a longer period elsewhere in the NHS.”

Employment Judge Hyams-Parish added: “We concluded that the point [she] was making was that she would find it difficult to manage someone who was much older than her; the reference to the daughter was to illustrate the maturity point.”

When Mr McClements was invited to interview, he gave a presentation using Minions, the characters from Despicable Me.

He was then asked whether he would be willing to be a minion, the tribunal heard.

Mr McClements claimed this was intended to ask whether he would “do mundane tasks” or be “a servile follower or subordinate of a person in power.”

Finding in favour of Mr McClements, the tribunal said: “We were concerned that both conscious and unconscious bias were at play and that their focus on finding a person who was the “best fit” led them to take into account factors which were discriminatory.”

However, a claim for disability discrimination in relation to the unsuccessful job attempt failed.

The tribunal ruled that Guy’s and St Thomas’ had not subjected Mr McClements to any treatment that a non-disabled person would not have also experienced.

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