Factory worker, 20, wins £8,000 in age discrimination row after his boss called him ‘spoilt child’

Factory worker, 20, wins £8,000 in age discrimination row after his boss punched him in heated row then sent him a letter calling him a ‘spoilt child’

  • Jake Rawnsley, 20, was called ‘jumped up know-it-all’ by boss Antony Beall
  • He was punched and pushed during row in Leicester-based factory in 2019
  • Employment judge ruled Mr Rawnsley was victim of ‘inherent discrimination’
  • Young worker was awarded £8,000 payout, which the company called fair 

A young factory worker who was hit by his boss and branded a ‘spoilt child’ has won an £8,000 payout for unfair dismissal from the company.

Jake Rawnsley was called a ‘jumped up know-it-all’ and pushed by the owner of Leicester-based Queniborough Aluminium Services during a row in 2019.

An employment judge ruled that boss Antony Beall’s remarks made the 20-year-old the victim of ‘inherent discrimination’ and awarded him £8,000 in compensation – a ruling the company has described as fair.

The East Midlands tribunal heard in 2018 Mr Rawnsley, who had been working at the firm for three years, was tasked with keeping the stores clean and in order.

On October 17, 2019, there was a confrontation with managing director Mr Beall after Mr Rawnsley asked whether other employees should be helping him with the work.

It was heard Mr Beall lost his temper and subsequently struck the 20-year-old factory operative before pushing him and telling him to leave.

Jake Rawnsley, 20, was called a 'jumped up know-it-all' and punched and pushed by the owner of Leicester-based Queniborough Aluminium Services during a row in 2019

Jake Rawnsley, 20, was called a ‘jumped up know-it-all’ and punched and pushed by the owner of Leicester-based Queniborough Aluminium Services during a row in 2019

The tribunal was told that Mr Rawnsley wrote as he clocked off: ‘Attacked by owner. No longer feel safe here’ – and later reported the incident to police. 

Later that day, Mr Beall sent a text message to Mr Rawnsley which read: ‘Jake, this is Tony. Apologies for my half in our incident. It is my intention to pay you for today and tomorrow and you can resume work Monday.

‘I will assume if I don’t hear from you and you don’t show Monday you have decided to move on. I will need a change in attitude from you and I am willing to work with you on this. This is called a cooling off period.’

The employment tribunal heard that Mr Rawnsley did not reply and instead went to his GP the next day who gave him a sick note signing him off with stress from October 18 until November 1.

On October 21 the company sent a letter to Mr Rawnsley. In this letter Mr Beall stated that he was a ‘jumped up, know it all, spoilt child’.

The letter ended with: ‘So the QAS official position is as of today you have resigned, should this not be the case you would be dismissed for gross insubordination.’

In his defence, Mr Beall told the tribunal that his ‘temper has caused him to have at least one other similar confrontation with a person considerably older than [Mr Rawnsley]’.

Employment Judge Martin Brewer agreed that the punch was not enough to prove age discrimination, stating: ‘There is no credible evidence that Mr Beall only argues or loses his temper with people who are 20 years old.’

However, he concluded that the ‘spoilt child’ comment was enough to prove that Mr Rawnsley had been subjected to age discrimination by Mr Beall, despite him also lashing out at older employees.

He said: ‘We consider this comment to fall into the category of inherently discriminatory conduct. In other words, it is obvious to the Tribunal why [Mr Rawnsley] received the less favourable treatment, his age, and for that reason this claim succeeds.’

The Judge also ruled that his dismissal was unfair, stating: ‘There was no justification for Mr Beall assaulting [Mr Rawnsley], much as he may have later regretted it.

‘We find it difficult to envisage circumstances in which such a dismissal could be anything other than unfair.’

As a result, the tribunal awarded Mr Rawnsley a total of £7,949.96, including more than £5,000 for unfair dismissal and £1,000 for ‘injury to feelings’.  

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Written by Bourbiza Mohamed

I have 26 years of experience as a professional writer and editor and have been working as a full time freelancer since 2011. I am originally from Casablanca, Morocco, and I graduated from Qatar University with a degree in journalism. I have worked for newspapers, magazines, news agencies, websites. I speak fluent Arabic, French, English, Russian and Spanish.

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