Michael Bandura labored 50-hour, six-day weeks at a small village store for practically 20 years, incomes round simply £11,000 a year. But after the 67-year-old spent three days in hospital with a bowel situation, his boss Michael Fernandez employed a youthful substitute and informed Mr Bandura he had “been retired”.
The “shocked and distressed” butcher claimed unfair dismissal and illegal discount of wages at a tribunal, which has dominated he was handled “less favourably than a younger man”.
Mr Bandura labored alone in the store, which offered meat from a farm owned by Mr Fernandez.
The tribunal in Croydon, south London, heard his in depth duties included buying “everything to run the shop”, doing all ‘butchery and gross sales, books, audits” and sending weekly totals to the business’s accountant.
He was first employed in 2000 but never received a contract and did not keep details of the hours he worked. But the panel heard he was being paid as little as £4.17 an hour.
In July 2019, he spent three days in hospital after he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and was sent home with a clean bill of health.
But when he called Mr Fernandez to tell him he was fit and ready to return to work, the boss told him he should stay home to recover.
The tribunal heard Mr Bandura took the week off but when he again asked if he could go back to work, Mr Fernandez was “evasive”.
The boss placed him on statutory sick pay and hired a “a lot youthful” man full-time.
He then sent Mr Bandura his P45 in the post informing him his last day of work was August 31. But the document arrived a month after that date. The shocked butcher immediately phoned Mr Fernandez who told him he had “been retired”.
The tribunal noted Mr Bandura had planned to work “till his seventieth birthday”, meaning his working life was “reduce brief by three years”.
Employment Judge Fiona McLaren ruled there was no legitimate aim for ending Mr Bandura’s employment.
She said: “We have discovered the rationale for the dismissal was retirement primarily based on Mr Bandura’s age.
“He was treated less favourably than a younger man.”
Mr Bandura was awarded a complete of £121,462 for unfair dismissal and illegal deductions from wages.