Mr. Achim Beck, was employed as the head of marketing at the London office of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (“the Bank”). Mr Beck, aged 42, clashed many times with Mr. Risler, head of the Bank’s equities and commodities structured products division, who was in his mid thirties. Mr Beck found Mr. Risler’s approach “too cautious”, whilst Mr. Risler thought Mr Beck “had not adapted his approach to the new realities within banking.” The Bank evidently concluded that this issue should be resolved, and conducted a “sham” dismissal of Mr Beck “purportedly by reason of redundancy”, whilst looking to recruit his replacement.
The Bank’s argument was that seeing as Mr. Beck had been employed at the age of 41 and dismissed at the age of 42 the argument that he was dismissed by reason of age was contrary to common sense. The Bank also contended that use of the word “younger” in the list of attributes the Bank required from its ideal candidate was meant to suggest a candidate who was a “less “senior” individual who would be less expensive”.
The Tribunal found that explanation to be “unconvincing” and stated that if it was the Bank’s intention for “younger” to carry this meaning “It should have said so.” Mr. Beck was found to have fitted the recruitment brief for the new role “apart from being younger.” Consequently the Tribunal found the Bank to have failed to show that the decision to dismiss Mr. Beck “was not significantly influenced by his age” and Mr. Beck’s claim for age discrimination succeeded. It was found to be “irrelevant” that the candidate hired to replace Mr Beck was 38 years old. The Bank’s actions were plainly discriminatory.