Accountant sues boss who sacked him for being a 'demanding' millennial

Accountant, 26, sues City insurance firm for age discrimination after his middle-aged boss sacked him because ‘he was too demanding like his generation of millennials’

  • Jay Patel, 26, sued Lucy A Raymond & Sons for age and disability discrimination
  • His boss Lucy Raymond-Williams said that he was a ‘too demanding’ millennial
  • Mr Patel, who is dyslexic, won the disability case and will receive compensation

A young accountant sued his middle-aged boss for age discrimination after they sacked him and told him he is ‘too demanding like his generation of millennials’.

Insurance boss Lucy Raymond-Williams suggested her 26-year-old new employee Jay Patel ‘expected things to be handed to him on a plate’, an employment tribunal heard.

Mr Patel found her suggestions of entitlement ‘objectionable’ and ‘distressing’ as he is dyslexic and had to overcome barriers in his life to achieve academic success and become an accountant.

His sacking came just a month after she hired him as ‘my blue-eyed boy, my project to show what people with dyslexia can achieve’, the hearing was told.

The company had been hunting for a fully qualified accountant, but Mrs Raymond-Williams decided to hire him as dyslexia was a ‘matter of huge importance’ to her as she has family with the condition and had set up a dyslexia charity. 

Based on the managing director’s comments about millennials and his dismissal, he sued firm London-based Lucy A Raymond & Sons for both age and disability discrimination.

And while he won the disability case, his age claim was rejected after a judge ruled he was offended because of the obstacles he had overcome in life rather than how old he was.

Now Mr Patel is in line to receive compensation.

Jay Patel (pictured), 26, was sacked by his boss who told him he is ‘too demanding like his generation of millennials’, he sued and won a disability case against her

Lucy Raymond-Williams (pictured) has been sued by her former employee, who she said ‘expected things to be handed to him on a plate’

The tribunal in central London heard Mr Patel earned a first-class honours degree in accounting and management at university and became part-accredited with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

Mrs Raymond-Williams, who has 42 years experience in insurance and founded her City-based firm in 2000, hired Mr Patel at the start of November 2020.

A tribunal report said: ‘At some point Mr Patel explained that he had dyslexia… This revelation by Mr Patel was a major factor and was decisive in him being offered the job.

‘In her evidence to us [Mrs Raymond-Williams] said Mr Patel ‘landed in the job because of his dyslexia’ and that it was ‘an enormous privilege to help’ him.

‘She said to Mr Patel during cross examination ‘you were my blue-eyed boy, my project to show what people with dyslexia can achieve’.

‘Mrs Raymond-Williams, though she has considerable direct experience of dyslexia, appeared to view the condition entirely through the lens of her personal experience.

‘There was no sense that [her company] at the interview sought to enquire how his dyslexia affected him as an individual and what specific requirements he might have and what they could do to address any needs.’

Mr Patel obtained a first class degree in accounting from the University of Westminster (pictured)

Just two days into his new job, a national lockdown was announced due to Covid-19 and Mr Patel had to work from home.

He repeatedly asked HR about funding to complete his qualifications but was not given an answer. The tribunal found colleagues made ‘exaggerated’ claims that he was ‘very discourteous and very demanding’.

The tribunal heard he was not set any targets but struggled with work and took longer to do tasks than expected, with other colleagues expressing concerns over his ability and lack of progress.

By December 1, 2020, Mrs Raymond-Williams made the decision to ‘dispense of his services’, admitting ‘I had taken the wrong decision in giving a dyslexic person the job’.

At his dismissal meeting, Mr Patel was offended at the suggestion he was ‘too demanding like his generation of millennials’.

The report said: ‘Mrs Raymond-Williams made a comment at this meeting about Mr Patel being too demanding, in common with his generation of millennials.

‘We find that during this meeting Mr Patel was asking for feedback as to why he was being dismissed, and that one of the things that was offered by Mrs Raymond-Williams was that [the company] found him too demanding.

‘[It was] probably in the context of his requests for funding of his ACCA course and sign-off of his professional objectives and that this was a trait of the millennial generation.

‘We find that Mr Patel interpreted this comment as suggesting that he had been given everything ‘on a plate’.

‘We find that he was distressed about this comment, not so much of it relating to his age but more because he felt, as a disabled person, brought up by a single mother who prioritised his education, and who himself had overcome numerous barriers to achieve academic success, that very little in life had been handed to him on a plate.’

Employment Judge Stephen Heath ruled Mr Patel was discriminated on grounds of his disability by being sacked over his dyslexia, criticising the company for making a ‘sudden about-turn’.

Judge Heath dismissed his age discrimination claim after ruling Mr Patel was offended because he had to overcome barriers rather than being offended due to his age.

Other allegations of discrimination were also dismissed.

Mr Patel will be awarded compensation for disability discrimination at a later date.

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