Monday, 17 January 2011

Age Discrimination at Work

Miriam was Moses's sister. Miriam O'Reilly sounds like an appropriate name for the unexpected daughter when Patrick O'Reilly got Becky Cohen into trouble. However, it is also the name of the freelance presenter that was 'let-go' by the BBC when 'Countryfile' was moved to a prime-time slot. Miriam accused the BBC of ageism and won her case at a recent employment tribunal. I will assume that the existing law on age discrimination was justly applied in this instance but did she have a case according to the law of common-sense?

Employers sometimes judge that particular jobs are best filled by people of a particular gender, in a particular age-range. Sometimes older, sometimes younger. Older males are often selected by B&Q to give advice to customers attempting a bit of DIY. Younger, attractive females are usually selected to advise on the perfume counters of Department Stores. Seems reasonable to me. Horses for courses. If the BBC considered that a younger woman should front-up 'Countryfile', why need the Law interfere? Remember that Miriam works as a self-employed, freelance presenter. Come on - ave a word wiv y'self - shouldn't our discrimination laws obey the overriding law of common-sense?

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