Neil McClements, now 50, was rejected in favour of a younger candidate (Photo: Solent News/Getty)
A middle-aged father earned more than £7,500 in an age and gender discrimination case after he was refused a job in the NHS because he did not fit in with the millennial women already working there.
Neil McClements, 50, was rejected for the job when he was the most qualified candidate, in favour of a much younger woman.
The court heard the team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust in London were predominantly female and over 30 years old, with one doctor describing himself on social media as a millennium old.
At the hearing, it was said that they had noticed that the father of two did not look at all like the young woman he was supposed to be replacing.
Mr McClement was informed by phone that the decision was made because his future boss felt she would feel uncomfortable instructing someone old enough to have an 11-year-old daughter.
Today, a panel led by Justice Tony Hyams Paris ruled that he was discriminated against based on both his age and gender.
He has applied for a job at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust (Photo: Getty).
A hearing in Croydon, south London, has revealed that McClements, who studied at Cambridge University Business School, interviewed for a project management position at the NHS Trust in July 2018.
This task, on which about £40,000 a year was spent, was intended to help the health service adapt technology more quickly.
The court heard that Mr McClements, who was 47 at the time, used visual aids during his speech, including a Minion backpack with yellow characters from the film series Despicable Me.
He explained that the Minions are the playful, submissive and caricatured characters in the film, paired with the soundtrack to Pharrell Williams’ Happy – which the court heard.
During their interview … we found that (the interview group) tried to determine (his) willingness to work for others younger than him and to take on menial tasks.
To that end, (he) was asked during his presentation Do you want to be a stooge?
Mr McClements, who has extensive technical experience, said he was asked if he was prepared to carry out routine tasks or be a slavish sidekick or subordinate to someone in power.
Compared to the other candidates, Mr. McClements received the highest score from the Joint Committee, which included Dr. Charlotte Lee, to whom he will report, and Jenny Thomas, the program director.
Read more: USA
After the interview, he and another older candidate – a woman in her 20s – were introduced to other members of the team, including a woman named Rose, the court was told.
They were then asked what they thought of him as part of the exercise to determine which one suited him best.
The tweets from Rose’s Twitter account were presented as evidence in court.
(She) described her interests as inclusive social justice, inequality**feminist, the group said. Many of the retweets we were shown were about feminist or equality issues.
In a retweet, he said that while London is the most diverse city in the UK, women are still paid less than men and there are far too few women in leadership roles.
We were also shown (Dr. Lee) a Twitter account where she describes herself as a Millennium.
One of the issues the team considered was whether Mr McClements was too experienced, too prominent and how different he was from the woman he replaced.
The day after the decision was made to appoint another candidate, Dr Lee telephoned Mr McClement from Spalding, Lincolnshire, to inform him that he was not eligible for appointment.
(She) told him … that a major factor in the decision was that (she) felt uncomfortable asking what you were doing, given that you have an 11-year-old daughter, the group said.
We concluded that the point (she was making) was that she would have difficulty with someone much older than she was; the reference to the daughter was meant to illustrate a point of maturity.
The panel concluded by upholding McClemen’s allegations of age and sex discrimination: We are concerned that both conscious and unconscious biases may come into play and that the focus on finding the most suitable person may lead them to consider discriminatory factors.
We didn’t think (they) were aware of the danger of being more inclined to vote for a candidate who looks like them.
The NHS Trust was ordered to pay Mr McClement – who is now the Chief Executive of the charity Haemochromatosis UK – compensation totalling £7,580.14.
An additional claim for lack of reasonable accommodation on the basis of disability was dismissed.
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