“Godfather of retail” makes age discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal

Employment Tribunal

A former banker dubbed the “Godfather of retail” is suing a leading bank for age discrimination and unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.

Mr Tony Shiret, 56, had worked for Credit Suisse for 18 years when he was suddenly made redundant in 2011, as part of the cuts to Credit Suisse’s equities department. He subsequently submitted an Employment Tribunal claim for direct age discrimination and unfair dismissal and the matter has now come to a full hearing.

The Employment Tribunal heard that Mr Shiret was seen as a “powerful” and well-regarded worker in the retail industry, being voted in at no.79 in the Retail Week Power 100 list, and that he had enjoyed a successful career with Credit Suisse before he was made redundant. Mr Shiret claimed in his witness statement that he was targeted by his employer “because of [his] age” and that but for his relatively advanced years he would not have been made redundant in the round of cuts. Mr Shiret’s legal team used a dossier of emails sent between Credit Suisse executives as evidence, with one email reading “Can we offer Tony retirement? He is 55 this year”. This email was hailed as a “smoking gun” by a Twitter user and Mr Shiret contended that “I believe this communication supports my contention that Credit Suisse had decided to get rid of me because of my age in order to advance Mr Malic”.

Mr Shiret claimed that he had been “pre-selected without any consultation”, that the selection criteria were “weighted against me and inherently unfair” and that his dismissal was “fixed” and a “done deal”. He further stated that it was “apparent” that he was targeted for redundandcy whereas a younger staff member, Mr Assad Malic, was assured that he would not be made redundant. He further claimed that the pool for his redundancy was unfair and that he should have been scored higher than a colleague who was in his thirties. Mr Shiret went on to state that he believed that he had been a victim of age discrimination and that Credit Suisse went “through the motions”.

Credit Suisse declined to comment on the ongoing litigation, apart from to state that it “vigorously” denied the allegations.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solictor at Redmans, commented on the case that “Employment Tribunal claims of this nature are often viciously contested, with both parties often believing that they are in the right regarding the chances of success in defending or making the claim. We’ll see shortly whether the Tribunal decides that Mr Shiret was unfairly dismissed and whether he had been discriminated against in the redundancy”.