Yes, according to a fired 73 year old Channel Islands TV “racing pundit” who took his case to the Central London Employment Tribunal.
As reported by the HeraldScotland, “The pundit, famed for his deerstalker, tic-tac gestures and gold jewellery, took his former employer and TV production company IMG Media Limited to the tribunal, alleging his sacking last year was motivated by age discrimination.” He alleged that he was not permitted to be part of “this year’s racing presenting team” because of his age – and cited the TV station’s desire to “freshen up” its appeal.
Witnesses for the TV station testified that he was fired because he was “offensive” and “disgusting.” Counsel for the station said that “a survey suggested that [he] was highly unpopular with viewers,” but that “Even without data, it’s a reasonable assumption, isn’t it, that the claimant’s profile, whether that is in his reality television programmes or in racing broadcasting, was off-putting to many. A lot of racing viewers are right-thinking people who find this sort of behaviour obnoxious.”
Emma Parr, an attorney with the Guernsey law firm of Collas Crill, noted that the employee alleged that “freshening up” was code for “kicking out the older people.” (We are not sure from the reports which we saw whether the employer used those words or whether the employee read this into the intent of the employer).
Ms. Parr commented that: “It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, this decision with have for Channel Islands employers. Presently, neither island has any age discrimination laws so technically there’s no law preventing a Guernsey or Jersey employer from performing an act of ageism. However, we would encourage employers to think twice before terminating someone’s employment on the grounds of their age. Remember, Channel Islands employees have the fundamental right not to be unfairly dismissed and age is not a fair reason to terminate employment. Therefore, a lack of discriminatory legislation is not an excuse to replace your older staff with more “younger models”.
Well, after penning this post we learned that the Tribunal ruled against our pundit, holding that: “All the evidence is that [his] pantomime persona, as demonstrated on the celebrity television appearances, and his persona when appearing on Channel 4 Racing, together with his self-described bigoted and male chauvinist views were clearly unpalatable to a wider potential audience.”
He was quoted as saying that: “This is an historic setback for all employees in their 30s to their 70s.”
So it goes.