Real estate agent aplogises and pays compensation for age discrimination breach

The Fair Work Ombudsman has announced that a Melbourne real estate agent discriminated against a female employee when it dismissed her because of her "overall young look".

Buxton (Sandringham) Pty Ltd, a franchise of the Buxton Group, has agreed to pay the woman $1200 compensation and revamp its workplace policies following investigations by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

The woman was employed as a personal assistant on a casual basis in June, 2010, when she was 23 - but dismissed a month later, shortly after she had assisted at an auction by recording bids.

A male sales consultant told her that some of the company's directors who had seen her at the auction were concerned she looked too young, was too short and would not have the presence to effectively negotiate at auctions.

He said he "needed someone he could turn into a sales person and that this was not possible for her because of her overall young look."

The consultant terminated her employment, saying: "The reason I have done this now is because the training I would need to do would be a waste of time if I then have this concern six months later".

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated the matter after the employee lodged an official complaint.

Following the co-operation of Buxton (Sandringham), the Fair Work Ombudsman has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking with the company as an alternative to litigation.

As part of the Enforceable Undertaking, the company has agreed to apologise to the former employee and pay her $1200 compensation for the six weeks following her dismissal in which she was not able to gain alternative employment.

The company has also agreed to develop new recruitment and termination policies, commission workplace relations compliance training for its directors and alert other Buxton Group franchisees to its breach.

Findlaw

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