A 60-year-old lecturer has launched an Employment Tribunal claim against the University of Kent after he claims he was discriminated against.
Mr Stephen Games, 60, has launched a £750,000 claim for discrimination against his employer, the University of Kent, after he claimed that he was subjected to age discrimination by not being awarded a full-time role in the University’s architecture department.
The Ashford Employment Tribunal heard evidence from Mr Games that the University “tailored” the job specification for the full-time role to favour younger candidates who were more likely to have PhDs, whereas students of architecture of his generation rarely went on to do doctorates at the relevant time, as it was only since 1986 that students had been encouraged to pursue doctorates in architecture. Mr Games claimed that this led to him being disadvantaged because it was more difficult for him to obtain a doctorate now because of his commitments.
The University of Kent defended the claim on the basis that it was a legitimate and proportionate requirement that teachers in the school of architecture have a PhD as it was essential for the University’s long-term strategy of becoming an institution that specialised in both teaching and research. Further, the University stated that the requirement for a PhD was simply one reason out of many that Mr Games was not awarded the role.
The claim for £750,000 is based upon claims for loss of earnings and injury to feelings as a result of the discrimination. He claims that should he have been awarded the post then he would have worked for another 15 years in the role with the possibility of further promotions. The sums claimed equate approximately to a loss of £50,000 a year.
It is not currently clear whether Mr Games instructed employment law solicitors to deal with the claim or not.
Mr Games commented after the hearing: “I have told the university that I don’t want the money, I want the job. There is no reason why I shouldn’t go on working until I am 75, but because I was making a claim through the employment tribunal I was forced to monterise the amount. But it’s not about the money, it’s about the job.”
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case that: “Employers should be careful that they careful consider the job specifications for roles at their organisation and that the job specifications aren’t directly or indirectly discriminatory in any way. A failure to do so can lead to dire consequences if a failed applicant launches a discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal.”
The case has now concluded and it is expected that the Employment Tribunal will issue a written judgment at some point this month.