Global bank Citi has successfully challenged part of age discrimination claim brought by a former banker who was made redundant after being called ‘old’ at the age of 55.
Mr Kirk, a corporate banker within Citi’s energy and natural resources department, worked at Citi for 26 years before being selected for redundancy in 2017 as part of an exercise to reduce the number of managing directors in his department from three to one.
He claimed that during a meeting in 2017, the firm’s head of corporate investment bank for EMEA, Mr Falco, told him: “you are old and set in your ways”.
In a final consultation meeting, Kirk was told about the need for “agility” and was told that a colleague, Ms Olive, had been selected for the role on offer. Olive was 51 at the time.
Kirk complained about the “old” remark in his internal appeal against the redundancy decision, however both Falco and Citi denied the comment had been made. An employmenr tribunal in 2020, however, found that Falco was likely to have made the remark.
The London employment tribunal found that Kirk had been a victim of age discrimination and awarded him nearly £2.7m in compensation.
Citi appealed against the decision and the Employment Appeal Tribunal has this week ordered for the case to be reheard.
Citi claimed that the tribunal had not properly considered its explanation for Kirk’s treatment in light of the “marginal” age difference between Kirk and Olive, and the evidence that all individuals involved in the redundancy selection process regarded both as being in the same age bracket.
The EAT upheld this part of Citi’s claim, judging that the tribunal had not given due consideration of Citi’s evidence.
However, two further grounds of appeal relating to remedy judgment that had been issued by the tribunal were rejected. These concerned the tribunal’s approach to the selection pool that would have been adopted had the firm followed a fair and non-discriminatory selection process, and a claim about the tribunal’s alleged failure to consider Kirk’s shareholding.
The EAT has referred the case back to the original tribunal panel for a rehearing.
Citi has been contacted for a response.
HR opportunities in finance on Personnel Today