A CO Tyrone woman has been awarded more than £4,000 after claiming she had been turned down for a job as a pizza delivery driver because she was too old.
Janice Walsh from Strabane claimed age discrimination was involved in the decision not to employ her after she applied for a post with Domino's franchise operator DP Strabane in her home town.
Upon attending a job interview where she was immediately asked her age, which she says was written down and circled by the interviewer, she later learned she had been unsuccessful in her application.
Following further correspondence with the firm, which was owned at the time by businessman Justin Quirk, Ms Walsh claimed they had breached the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 legislation.
She took a case against DP Strabane with the assistance of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, and was awarded a settlement of £4,250.
Ms Walsh also received an apology from Mr Quirk, and says she now has "a busy and rewarding job that I love".
Speaking of discovering she had been unsuccessful in her application, Ms Walsh said: "I immediately thought back to the interview and the question about my age. I believe my age was an issue and it had affected the decision made by the interview panel. I sent a private message via their Facebook page saying that I felt I had been discriminated against because of my age due to the first question I was asked at interview."
She said that upon revealing her age in the interview, she was told she did not "look it" and that after later sending her message via Facebook, she was contacted by an interview panel member who apologised and said they did not know it was inappropriate to ask her age.
Ms Walsh said she was later told by another person in the company that the nature of the role tended to suit people between the age of 18 and 30.
Senior legal officer with the Equality Commission, Mary Kitson, said employers must be aware of legislation designed to prevent discrimination on grounds including age.
"It’s important that employers of any size and for any job are aware of the basics of equality legislation and how it protects job applicants, as well as current employees, from age discrimination at work," she said.
"People involved in recruitment and selection should be familiar with how people are protected by the legislation in order to keep the employer on the right side of the law. It’s really important not to allow stereotypical views of who can do particular jobs to influence decisions," she said.
The Irish News reached out to Mr Quirk last night.