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Record damages for woman in ‘malicious and insulting’ ageism case

A woman who was passed over for a new post with the health service because she was considered to be too old has been awarded record damages.

Linda Sturdy was 56 when she was discriminated against by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in 2006. The job she applied for running breast screening services was given to a colleague who is 13 years younger than her.

An employment tribunal has now awarded Mrs Sturdy £33,500 damages for injury to her feelings and £5,700 in aggravated damages. This is the highest ever award for a case of this kind.

Giving the tribunal ruling, Judge Christine Lee said the injury to Mrs Sturdy’s feelings was "about as serious as it gets". She said Mrs Sturdy’s managers had failed to carry out an unbiased investigation when she complained of age discrimination and had behaved towards her in a way that was "high handed, malicious, insulting and oppressive".

The case was closely monitored by Age Concern. A spokesman said: "Age discrimination in the workplace is outlawed and employers should not get away with pushing aside older jobseekers’ CVs just because of their age. Instead of valuing their lifetime of skills and experience‚ employers are rejecting older workers often with the glib excuse that they are over qualified."

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