Telling someone to ‘grow up’ is not ageist, a tribunal has ruled

A teenage hairdresser complained after being told to ‘pull herself together’

Solent News
Wednesday 13 October 2021 13:32
<p>The words were said to a young employee </p>

The words were said to a young employee

Telling a work colleague to ‘grow up’ is not ageist, a tribunal has ruled in a case brought by a teenage trainee. Jasmine Stunell, a hairdressing apprentice, sued her former boss for age discrimination after the comment was allegedly made by a colleague when she was just 16.

An employment tribunal heard the young stylist was also told to ‘pull herself together’.

Ms Stunell later brought claims for age discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal against the salon after she quit.

But the panel dismissed them after it found the remarks could be said to anyone — especially older people.

It said: “The tribunal does not find the words ‘grow up’ and ‘pull yourself together’ in themselves are related to age and can be said to anyone and particularly to someone older who is acting in a childish way.”

Ms Stunell had started working as a stylist at the Leo Bancroft Salon in Weybridge, Surrey, where she studied towards a vocational qualification on Saturdays in January 2017 before becoming an apprentice seven months later.

At the end of her three-three-month month probationary period, owner and manager Leo Bancroft raised some issues with Ms Stunell’s performance.

The panel heard she would hide during the day, be late, use her mobile phone and had a poor general attitude, including towards clients.

But her performance improved and she was officially made an apprentice in February 2018 at the salon where there is said to be a ‘very good retention record’ with 70 per cent of the stylists having been fully trained by Mr Bancroft.

Ms Stunell then alleged that a colleague, Amy Frith, told her to ‘grow up’ and to pull herself together through a toilet door while she was being sick, the panel heard.

But the tribunal accepted Ms Frith’s version of events, in which she denied making the remark and has a phobia of vomiting so would not have been close by.

In addition, Ms Stunell claimed that, in an online group chat used by the salon, a colleague had said she should be replaced with someone more reliable.

The tribunal found this was also not age-related and would have been said about any member of staff who was late or disappeared without explanation during the day.

The panel was told Ms Stunell walked out of work on a number of occasions due to personal matters but Mr Bancroft was “very supportive” as he knew she had a difficult home life.

After she walked out and resigned, he texted her to say she had “huge potential” and a “bright future ahead,” the panel heard.

The tribunal ruled Ms Stunell had not been bullied or discriminated against at work.

Ms Stunell also claimed she was not allowed to take breaks but there was no evidence of this and dismissed all her claims.

The panel, headed by Employment Judge Anne Martin, concluded: “In all the circumstances, the tribunal finds that Ms Stunell’s claims are not well-founded and are dismissed.”

Solent News and Photo agency

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