Tate gallery attendant, 61, claims unfair dismissal


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The Independent Online

The Tate sacked a gallery attendant following a row over her leaving her seat to chat to a security guard, an employment tribunal heard yesterday.

In August last year, Anne Taylor, 61, wass reprimanded by her manager after she ventured away from her post at Tate Britain.

The manager returned to speak to her the next day. She was then investigated by another manager, later suspended, and dismissed in December.

Ms Taylor claims she was unfairly dismissed and that the Tate discriminated against her age following a wide-ranging review of her department at the beginning of last year, in which she claims "older managers were replaced with younger managers".

The tribunal in London heard evidence from Vilma Nikolaidou, the Tate's head of organisational development, who said ages in the restructured visitor services department varied widely. She said there had been no increase in dismissals since Ms Taylor's department was reviewed last year.

Ian Johnson, a Tate Britain visitor experiences manager who conducted the investigation, said Ms Taylor was "acting inappropriately whilst on the floor by looking at photos with [a] security officer in public view".

He said the following day Ms Taylor spoke to her manager in a "disrespectful and condescending manner".

The Tate confirmed that overall staff numbers had recently been reduced in Tate Britain's visitor services department, with attendants asked to cover more positions.

Ms Taylor is expected to give evidence to the tribunal today.