Make a Tribunal claim for direct age discrimination

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How to make a Tribunal claim

You can make a Tribunal claim at no cost to the Employment Tribunal, using the ET1 form. Before you submit your claim, you must contact ACAS, the public body who can help to resolve your claim through Early Conciliation. You can read more about this and how to fill in your claim form here.

This guide will walk you through making a direct age discrimination claim.

How to complete Section 8.2 of the ET1 form

The ET1 form will ask in section 8.2 for the background and details of your claim. The best way to approach this is to write your Particulars of Claim (called a Paper Apart if you are in Scotland). This is where you lay out what happened, what legal claims you’d like to make and your reasoning. 

This section is the heart of your Tribunal claim and is very important and difficult to change later on, so it’s worth spending some time to make sure it’s clear.

How to create your particulars of claim:

  1. Write your ET1 section 8.2

    You’ll normally do this by creating a separate document called the Particulars of Claim (or Paper Apart in Scotland). This sets out the background and details of your claim. Valla offers step-by-step guidance to help you make sure your claims are clear and laid out in the right way.

  2. Convert the file to Rich Text Format (RTF)

    Convert your file to RTF and attach it to the online ET1 form. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can purchase Valla’s Peace of Mind Check and we will sort this out for you.

  3. Submit your ET1 form

    Wait for the Tribunal to acknowledge your claim. They will also send a copy to the Respondent, who will have 28 days to respond.

Specific things to consider in your direct age discrimination claim

Laying out your claim

When you are claiming direct age discrimination at Tribunal, you want to clearly argue that you have been treated unfairly because of age. This is usually because of your own age, but it could also be the age you are perceived to be, or because of the age of someone you’re with or connected to. For example:

  • An employer believes that someone’s memory deteriorates with age. He assumes – wrongly – that a 60-year-old manager in his team can no longer be relied on to undertake her role competently. An opportunity for promotion arises, which he does not mention to the manager. 
  • A marketing company places an advert on its web site offering jobs to “young graduates”. 
  • The manager of a nightclub is disciplined for refusing to carry out an instruction to exclude older customers from the club.

With direct age discrimination, it’s important to know that sometimes direct age discrimination is lawful if it can be justified, for example if there are strong business reasons for the practice.

Also, with direct age discrimination, your employer can be liable for the acts of its employees, as well as the employees being personally responsible. 

Proving your claim

You don’t need to attach evidence to a Tribunal ET1 claim, but it’s a good idea to back up your claims by mentioning the evidence you intend to use. For direct race discrimination claims, people typically refer to evidence such as text messages, emails, letters, meeting notes and witness evidence.

What you can ask for in your direct age discrimination claim

If you’re successful in a Tribunal claim, you will be awarded a “remedy”. This mainly includes financial compensation, like loss of earnings. It can also include some non-financial remedies too.

Common remedies people ask for at Tribunal

Some of the key remedies you can ask for at Tribunal are:

  • The money you have lost from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • The money that you expect to lose in the future from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • Wages that you are owed, including holiday pay and notice pay.

Discrimination-specific remedies

As well as the common remedies that you can ask for, discrimination-specific claims also have the option to include an “injury to feelings” remedy. This is compensation which you can be awarded when you have been hurt or distressed because you have been discriminated against.

Injury to feelings is generally awarded within one of three “Vento bands” depending on severity:

  • for less serious cases - £990 to £9,900
  • for more serious cases - £9,900 to £29,600
  • for the most serious cases - £29,600 to £49,300

For example, Carla was awarded £42,809.32 plus interest for injury to feelings after she was subjected to numerous different acts of age and race discrimination. This included direct age discrimination when she was humiliated after a colleague made 2 nasty comments related to her age in front of other colleagues. She also made complaints of sex discrimination, which were not successful.

Real direct age discrimination cases you can learn from

Summary: a company ended a 16-year-old’s apprenticeship contract, stating that he “had a lot of maturing up to do”. 

Total award: £7,908

Outcome: He was successful in a claim for direct age discrimination. As well as this he also successfully made a claim for breach of contract.

Summary: a print room manager made various claims, including direct age discrimination. There were a number of facts which indicated discrimination, including his employer having written him a letter that said he was "finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of change" and suggested he should have remedial management training at the most basic level.

Total award: £60,914.24

Outcome: the print room manager was successful in his claim for direct age discrimination, as well as claims for unfair dismissal and unlawful deduction from wages.

Further reading

Related Tribunal claims 

If you’ve faced direct race discrimination at work, there are potentially a number of other discrimination claims that could apply to you:

  • Victimisation - where you’ve been treated badly because you made or helped with an age discrimination complaint.
  • Harassment - where you’ve been subjected to behaviour that relates to age and is unwanted. This behaviour must make you feel, or be intended to make you feel intimidated, degraded, or offended.
  • Indirect discrimination - where a company policy or practice negatively affects people of a certain age group.
  • Sexual harassment - where you have experienced unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or been treated less favourably because you have either submitted to or rejected sexual harassment, or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment. 
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments (note that this only applies to disability) - where your employer has failed to make a reasonable change to help you to do your job, or apply for a job, to reduce the impact of your disability.
  • Discrimination arising from disability (note that this only applies to disability) - where you’ve been treated unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself. 

You may also be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or another type of employment law. You can download your free Action Toolkit to find out more.