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Plumber nicknamed ‘Half-dead Dave’ and sacked due to his age wins £25,000 compensation

David Robson was dismissed after years of service with no warning and despite having no issues at work

A man has been awarded £25,000 compensation after being sacked with no warning and no consultation by bosses who called him “Half-Dead Dave” because of his age.

David Robson, 69, was sacked in 2020 in what the GMB trade union said was a “shocking case where the employer failed to comply with basic employment law standards”.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • David Robson, 69, worked for Clarke’s Mechanicals Limited on the Isle of Wight as a plumber and gas fitter, but was sacked in 2020
  • Robson claimed he was let go without warning and despite there being no issues at work, after working for the company for many years
  • He won his claim of age discrimination and unfair dismissal after a three-day employment tribunal hearing in Bristol
  • The tribunal heard how Robson’s boss and others had nicknamed him “Half-Dead Dave” for years due to his age 
  • The GMB trade union, which assisted with the case, said the man’s employer advertised for jobs which he was qualified to do immediately after sacking him 

What’s been said?

David Robson said: “I was obviously very disappointed to have been dismissed after working at Clarkes for years.  I’m delighted to have received this compensation and am very grateful to GMB and their team of solicitors.  It was wrong of the company to get rid of me because of my age and I’m glad I was able to seek justice.”

Emily Bradshaw, Solicitor and Partner at Pattinson & Brewer Solicitors, said: “This judgment is important as it highlights the need for a fair and transparent process in redundancy situations.

“This is a clear example of a discriminatory employer who thought they could hide behind a sham process.

“This is a great result for the GMB member who showed great resilience and determination throughout a very difficult time in his life.”

Adrian Baker, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “This is a shocking case where the employer failed to comply with basic employment law standards, even giving him a cruel nickname.

“No procedure was followed and he was discriminated against because of his age.

“To make matters worse, after dismissing him, the company then advertised jobs which Mr Robson was qualified to do.

“UK Employment law is there for us all to respect and Isle of Wight employers are no exception.”