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Friday, 21 August, 1998, 23:21 GMT 00:21 UK
A tall story
bigboys
Different outcomes for the two men
A man who was refused a job at a chicken factory because he was too tall has won his sex discrimination claim.

An industrial tribunal has ruled that the factory in Hereford should not have rejected Barry Seal because he was 6'2" tall.

But the panel, which reached its decision after hearing two days of evidence in Hereford earlier this month, threw out a similar claim against Sun Valley Foods Ltd by Lincoln Dodd, a 6'7" rugby player.

The tribunal decided that the company's height condition was to Mr Seal's detriment "as being 6ft 2in he could not comply with the condition to be shorter than that".

However Mr Dodd's case failed because he had been subjected to an "objective health screening" which took into account health and safety considerations.

Decision welcomed

A spokesman for Hereford Citizens Advice Bureau, which represented both men, welcomed the decision in favour of Mr Seal, but said it was considering an appeal in Mr Dodd's case.

"It sends a message to employers that they cannot arbitrarily apply discriminatory decisions," the spokesman added.

The two complaints alleged that Sun Valley Foods - the largest employer in Hereford - breached the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act when it denied the men jobs last winter.

The tribunal was told the company operated a "heightist" policy because of fears that workers over a certain height would damage their spines.

Discrimination denied

The firm denied discriminating against tall people.

Sun Valley said tall people were more likely to damage their spines doing the job and they were preoccupied with the welfare of their staff.

Resources Director Martin Wibberley welcomed the decision in the case of Mr Dodd saying they had worked hard to improve their selection methods.

"Sun Valley has been exonerated in its practice of not employing people it considers unsuitable for work, given their individual physiological characteristics.

A hearing at a later date will decide on compensation for Mr Seal.

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11 Aug 98 | UK
Too tall to work?
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