A shipwright with 33 years' experience claimed he was
discriminated against because of his age when he was made
redundant last year.
Keith Andersen was working as a shipwright - a ship carpenter
- for Fullers when he was made redundant in September last
year, after 33 years working for the Auckland ferry company.
But Mr Andersen took his redundancy to the Employment
Relations Authority, claiming he was unjustifiably dismissed
and was discriminated against because of his age.
Fullers acknowledged that his age was a factor in its
consideration, but said he was not discriminated against.
Mr Andersen's role was disestablished when the business went
though a major review in 2009.
After his job had been declared surplus to requirements Mr
Andersen and Fullers looked into possible redeployment.
Mr Andersen was eventually offered employment as a freight
assistant, which he accepted on a fixed-term contract.
But Mr Andersen claimed prior to that that he was
discriminated against on the grounds of his age when
discussing new roles.
In a meeting Fullers said that Mr Andersen would not fit in
with the "young people texting on the ferries", Mr Andersen
told the ERA.
At a later meeting another Fullers manager said Mr Andersen
could not perform the onboard services role because it would
Mr Andersen said that when pressed, the company had confirmed
it was because he was too old.
"The evidence before the authority is plain that Mr
Andersen's age was a factor that was taken into account in
respect of his suitability for the onboard services role,"
ERA member James Crichton said.
But Mr Crichton said the issue was whether Mr Andersen's age
was causative of Fullers' decision on the onboard services
He concluded that the dominant reason for Fullers to not
offer the position was not age, "but the unsuitability of the
position by reason if the combination of the much lower wage
rate and the fixed term nature of the engagement".
Mr Crichton ruled that Mr Andersen's claims of unjustified
dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of age had not
been made out.