20-year-old membership secretary wins landmark tribunal age discrimination case for unfair dismissal against London club

A 20-year-old woman sacked for being “too young” won a landmark age discrimination case yesterday (Monday).

Megan Thomas, who worked as a membership secretary at the Eight Members Club, central London, said she had been unfairly dismissed by managers after being told she was not old enough to deal with its members.

A ruling by a London Employment Tribunal, thought to be the first of its kind relating to discrimination against younger people, ruled that Thomas was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against because of her age.

The tribunal chairman gave a default judgment because Eight Members Club did not oppose her claim meaning the issue was not contested in court and the chairman did not have to give reasons for his verdict.

Thomas’ solicitor, Lawrence Davies, told The Independent: “This is the first time that the courts have said age discrimination adversely affects the young and young-looking as well as the old.”

Since the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 came into force on 1 October 2006, most cases have referred to age discrimination for older members of staff.

Thomas’ case comes after the first major age discrimination case against a law firm was rejected last month.

After the ruling Thomas, from Shirley Oaks Village, Surrey, said: “I was told I was too young and if they had met me a few years later there may not have been a problem.”

However, the club will appeal the decision, on the grounds it employed several young people. The club’s owner said he was planning to end Thomas’ contract of employment because she had made “mistakes”.

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