Court rules on age discrimination

Seniors have welcomed a decision by the Brisbane Federal Court which found a restaurant operator guilty of age discrimination in sacking a waiter who had reached the age of 65.

The Fair Work Ombudsman said the Gold Coast restaurant owners, Theravanish Investments Pty Ltd, were fined $20,790, its two joint directors a further $4,180 each and also ordered them to pay the sacked employee $10,000.

It was the Fair Work Ombudsman’s first litigation on the grounds of age discrimination since the office had been empowered to investigate the issue in 2009.

Michael O’Neill said the decision sent a clear message to employers about age discrimination in the workplace.

“Sacking someone on the basis of age is illegal and unacceptable,” O’Neill said.

“It undermines the dignity of the individual and the value of older people in the workplace.”

O’Neill said the case was timely with recent speculation that the federal government is planning to raise the pension age.

“This case brings age discrimination into sharp focus.

“The government may raise the pension age but it doesn’t automatically follow that older people will be treated any better in the workplace.

“Older people need to know they can get and keep a job without prejudice dictating when they leave the workforce,” he said.

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