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Health worker reinstated after ‘ageist’ dismissal

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A 67-year-old hospital worker from Cornwall has been given back her job in a “landmark” age discrimination judgement.

Ann Southcott, a clerical worker at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, was dismissed from her post one day before new age discrimination rules – the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations – came into force. 

She was told she would receive 11 weeks’ pay, rather than the 11 years she would otherwise have been entitled to if she had been dismissed one day later on 1st October 2006. Her union, Unison, branded this as “grossly unfair”.

Southcott said: “I am delighted with this result as I was clearly discriminated against on the grounds of my age, which was grossly unfair. I cannot afford to give up work, and why should I when I was doing a job that I loved?”

A spokesperson for Unison, the health workers’ union, said: “This landmark decision is a just and fair outcome to the case.

“I hope this decision will give new heart to other people who have lost their jobs because of their age and demonstrate to employers that the new legislation has teeth.”

Trust chief executive John Watkinson said a small number of employees aged over 65 who had been dismissed in 2006 would be returning to work at the hospital.



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