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Nicknames and Banter – at what cost?
An employment tribunal has awarded more than £63,000 for age discrimination to a salesperson who was nicknamed “Gramps” by his younger colleagues and later dismissed after customer complaints that he was “old fashioned” and “long in the tooth”.

The long-serving employee was dismissed at the age of 60 and although it was accepted that his nickname was not offensive, the Tribunal decided that his dismissal was influenced by customers’ stereotypical views. The tribunal also took into account that younger colleagues referred to Mr Dove as “Gramps”, which suggested that ageist attitudes were tolerated in this workplace.

This particular case shows that not only can nicknames related to a protected characteristic be harassment, but they can also be part of the evidence in other types of discrimination claim. It is therefore worthwhile reminding your employees that they should not use such labels as not only can they be hurtful, but it can show that the employer tolerates discriminatory views.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016

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