A hospital trust has had to pay a former member of staff £187,000 in compensation after the manager missed out on a promotion for being too old.
Linda Sturdy suffered age discrimination when she was passed over for promotion due to her age, an employment tribunal has found.
When she revealed she was just over three years away from reaching retirement age, Ms Sturdy lost out in the running for the position to run a breast screening service for 124,000 women, which she had been the preferred candidate for.
A colleague with 35 years’ less experience eventually got the position after a manager at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust told Ms Sturdy: “I didn’t realise you were so old.”
After she refused to take a more junior role, Ms Sturdy was sacked in May 2008.
In what was found to be a breach of statutory procedures, she was reinstated and then made redundant on the same day the following September.
Managers had acted in a “high-handed, malicious, insulting and oppressive” manner in dealing with Ms Sturdy, the tribunal was told.
To cover lost salary and pension rights, Ms Sturdy was awarded £147,000 in addition to the £40,000 she was awarded in damages last year.
After tribunal costs are taken into account, the trust now faces a bill of more than half a million pounds.
Mistakes had been made, Jackie Green, HR director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, admitted. She said: “We have looked closely into what happened to learn lessons.”