Eminent Doctor Claims Age Discrimination

In Reynolds v CLFIS (UK) Limited and Others, an eminent doctor and insurance expert who maintains that she was removed from her role as chief medical officer of a leading insurance company because of her age has had her compensation hopes boosted by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

The award-winning doctor, who was considered pre-eminent in her field, had worked for the company for more than 40 years – latterly under a self-employed consultancy agreement – and was aged in her 70s when her appointment was terminated. She argued that the decision to dispense with her services was tainted by age discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) dismissed her claim, finding that the company's UK manager was genuinely concerned about certain aspects of her performance and her apparent reluctance to embrace change. In its view, her employer's decision to end her contract was not in any sense related to her age.

However, in allowing her appeal, the EAT found that the ET had wrongly focused solely on the mental processes of the UK manager, who had made the final decision. Other members of the company's senior management had clearly been involved in the decision-making process and the failure to examine their motivations amounted to an error of law.

The case was remitted for rehearing by a freshly constituted ET.

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