Too old to deliver pizza? Strabane woman settles age discrimination case against Domino's branch

A Tyrone woman who believes she was turned down for a job delivering pizzas has settled a case of age and sex discrimination against a Strabane branch of Domino's Pizza, and its owner at the time Justin Quirk.

The business now operates under a new license.

Domino's said it operates a franchisee model and therefore store employment and recruitment was the responsibility of the franchisee. It said there had been a change in ownership since which was not related to this case.

Justin Quirk paid out £4,250 to Janice Walsh who had applied for the post of team member/delivery driver at the pizza firm.

UTV has attempted to contact Mr Quirk for comment.

At the interview for the post, the first question Janice says she was asked was her age, with the interviewer writing down and circling her answer, before saying 'You don't look it.'

"I believe my age was an issue and it had affected the decision made by the interview panel," Janice said.

"I sent a private message via their Facebook page saying that I felt I had been discriminated against because of my age due to the first question I was asked at interview.” A short time after sending that message she says she received a telephone call from an interview panel member who apologised and said they did not know that it was inappropriate to ask someone their age directly when interviewing for a post. Janice subsequently spoke to another person she says worked on the shop who said that the nature of the work tended to suit younger people between 18 and 30 years old.

She also believes she was overlooked for the job because she is a woman.

“I’ve only ever seen men working as drivers and I think I was overlooked for a driver position because I am a woman," she said.

"Domino’s continued to advertise for drivers after the interviews had taken place," she added.

The Domino's branch in Strabane now operates under a new license. Credit: UTV

“I was surprised to be asked about my age, and I believe that that is why I turned down for the job.

"However, my reason for taking the case to the Equality Commission was about trying to make sure that more employers and HR people know about the law, and that people will know that you can challenge age and sex discrimination if you run into them – and you can move on after it. I now have a busy and rewarding job that I love.” Mary Kitson, Senior Legal Officer, Equality Commission, says: “The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations came into effect in 2006 – 16 years ago.

"It’s important that employers of any size and for any job are aware of the basics of equality legislation and how it protects job applicants, as well as current employees, from age discrimination at work," Mary Kitson, Senior Legal Officer at the Equality Commission said.

  • WATCH: Mary Kitson from the Equality Commission has this advice:

“People involved in recruitment and selection should be familiar with how people are protected by the legislation in order to keep the employer on the right side of the law.

"It’s really important not to allow stereotypical views of who can do particular jobs to influence decisions.”

In response, a spokesperson for Domino's said it operates a franchisee model therefore store employment and recruitment is the responsibility of the franchisee.

"The franchisee in question has since, in unrelated circumstances, left the system and the Strabane store is under new management," a spokesperson said.

"We pride ourselves on being an inclusive business with a diverse work force and we recognise the important role we play in the communities we serve," the spokesperson added.

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