Charity told to pay almost £3,000 to 14-year-old girl sacked after two shifts

A Scottish charity that aims to make horse riding accessible has paid out almost £3,000 to a teenager it sacked after just two shifts. 

A Scottish Employment Tribunal awarded £2,800 to the girl, who was 14-years-old at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons, for “direct discrimation” because of her age and “injury to feelings”. 

The now 15-year-old went to work for the Daimler Foundation at the Morris Equestrian centre in Fenwick, East Ayrshire, in December 2019.

She was employed as a part-time waitress at the centre’s cafe and restaurant and provided her age when applying, the tribunal heard. 

She was shown the ropes by the charity’s former front of house manager, Malcolm Easy, and worked a four-hour trial before returning for a second four-hour shift.

Easy told the teenager that he had been “pleased with her work” and the tribunal heard how the teenager thought she had “passed the trial period”. 

The tribunal heard the teenager was taking an order during her second shift when the wife of the cafe owner told her she should not be on the till and should wait tables instead before being told she could leave early because it was not busy. 

About a week later she received a call from Easy dismissing her from the role, the tribunal heard. 

Easy said he had enjoyed working with her but she could not continue to work there for health and safety reasons because the charity’s accountant said she was too young.

The tribunal heard: “He [Easy] said that she had not done anything wrong but that the accountant said that she could not work there.

“The claimant was shocked by that call, which she had not been expecting.

“She was upset by it, and distressed. It had been her first employment and she had been enjoying it.”

The charity, which was represented by its accounts manager, argued that age had not been a reason for dismissal.

Easy said he was unaware of the schoolgirl’s age and instead told her the role was “too severe and too stressful and that she was not able to cope with the severity of the job”.

Employment judge Sandy Kemp ruled it was an “unusual case” but the teenager, who was represented by her mum, should be compensated after her dismissal from her Saturday job left her “shocked, upset and distressed”.

Kemp said he preferred the evidence of the youngster.

He said: “The present case is an unusual one, in that the claimant was employed for two days only for what was a Saturday job, when a 14-year-old schoolgirl.

“The claimant gave her evidence clearly, candidly, and calmly, whilst still someone who is very young to be appearing before an Employment Tribunal as both witness and claimant.

“The Tribunal considered her to be a credible and reliable witness.”

The judge did not consider Easy to be correct in his recollection as “his evidence was not consistent with other evidence” and awarded the teenager compensation of £2,500 with interest added of £300.

The charity has not responded to a request for comment. 


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