Politics

Woman, 75, wins tribunal after Asda boss asked if she wanted to retire



A 75-year-old woman has won an employment tribunal for age and disability discrimination after being asked whether she wanted to retire from her job at Asda.

Joan Hutchinson, who has worked at Asda for 20 years quit after saying her manager made her feel she was being ‘pushed out of the business’ and ‘too old to be there’, reports The Mirror.

The tribunal heard staff were concerned for Ms Hutchinson after she began slowing down at work, becoming ‘flustered’ and losing her personal belongings.

On one occasion she walked to work because she could not remember where the bus stop was.

She refused to speak to the supermarket’s occupational health department or have managers speak to her family.

Last year Ms Hutchinson had to isolate and her boss – who delivered shopping to her while she was shielding – was found to have asked her if she wanted to retire, which the tribunal found upset her.

When she returned to work a colleague ‘violated her dignity’ by going through her bag to help when she could not find her keys and bus pass.

The shop worker resigned and took the retail giant to a tribunal, where she won claims of age and disability discrimination as well as constructive dismissal.

The hearing was told that Ms Hutchinson’s son noticed signs of dementia in 2017 and she was diagnosed in 2020.

The supermarket changed her hours so she did not have to drive in the dark, the tribunal heard.

Joanne Clitherow, Hutchinson’s daughter, told the tribunal her mother had twice been asked if she wanted to retire during a phone conversation over lockdown.

Her mother said ‘no’ and had been upset as she felt they did not want her at Asda any more.

Managers told the tribunal it was Hutchinson who had initiated the subject as she was scared of coming back to work.

However, the tribunal found it was the manager who had raised the possibility of retirement ‘on more than one occasion’.

“This may have been said in a well-meaning way but, nevertheless, we find that it was said,” the tribunal said.

An Asda spokesperson said: “Asda is an inclusive employer that is proud to employ colleagues of all ages. We apologise to Ms Hutchinson for her experiences.”





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