Page last updated at 15:57 GMT, Thursday, 16 April 2009 16:57 UK

Payout in age discrimination case

Payout of 39K over age rejection

A former NHS manager who was discriminated against because of her age has been awarded £39,000 damages.

Linda Sturdy was 56 when she was passed over for a job running breast screening services by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

An employment tribunal ruled the hospital worker, from Ripon, North Yorkshire, was turned down because she was nearing retirement age.

The trust said it was "fully committed" to avoiding discrimination.

It said more than one-fifth of its staff were aged 50 or over, and that the percentage of workers aged over 60 had increased in 2008.

Career 'finished'

Mrs Sturdy told BBC Look North she welcomed the payout.

She said: "I can't say it makes me feel any better about what has happened, because it has been an absolutely horrible experience, and I would never wish anyone to go through what I have been through.

"I feel that the trust and individual managers should be brought to account for what they have done, so from that perspective I am obviously pleased with the outcome."

Literally the rug was pulled from underneath me
Linda Sturdy

Mrs Sturdy had worked in radiology for 38 years when she applied for the role of principle radiographer at Seacroft Hospital.

The tribunal heard Brian Godfrey, head of the clinical management team for the hospital's radiology department, told her he didn't realise she was "so old" when she said she would be retiring in 2010.

Mr Godfrey had previously indicated to Mrs Sturdy that he saw her in the new role and would recommend her to the interview panel, of which he was a member.

But the panel instead gave the job to a 43-year-old woman who only had three years service.

Mrs Sturdy said she still felt far from reaching the end of her ordeal.

"It has finished my career, my career has ended", she said.

"I was at the pinnacle of my career, I had worked for 34 years in the NHS and had worked with the trust for 17 years.

"I set up that service from the beginning - and its all just been removed - literally the rug was pulled from underneath me."

She added she was now also pursuing an unfair dismissal claim against the trust.

Jackie Green, director of human resources at the trust, said: "While we are aware of and fully recognise the ruling of the tribunal in the Linda Sturdy case, the trust totally rejects any suggestion that as an organisation our policies or procedures discriminate against older employees.

"Our own aims clearly state that no person should be treated less favourably on the grounds of their age or other factors."

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Hospital faces payout in age case
09 Apr 09 |  North Yorkshire

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