Tango Networks to pay £71,000 in unfair dismissal and age discrimination case

Business communications organisation Tango Networks has been ordered to pay £71,441.36 to a former employee, following a case concerning unfair dismissal and alleged age discrimination.

The case, Mr M Jones v Tango Networks UK Ltd and P Hesketh, concerned a claimant originally employed as a channel account director in 2019. This was a commission-based role, and when he apparently failed to reach the targets to earn commission, Jones allegedly received harsh criticism from a line manager about his performance.

Jones further alleged age discrimination following comments made about hiring older men to sales roles within the business.

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In early 2021, Jones returned from leave, which included time off work due to stress, and was presented with a performance appraisal. He suggested that this was not due to his performance, but was in fact a result of his age. Indeed, the employment tribunal found no objective evidence of the claims about his failure to meet sales targets.

After the grievance was not successful, Jones resigned in February 2021.

The employment tribunal allowed Jones’ claims of age discrimination in part, and his claims regarding unfair and wrongful dismissal. It also found that the grievance had not been dealt with correctly by Tango Networks management.

The judgement stated: “Overall, the way in which the first respondent dealt with the grievance was more than an innocuous event. It was a final straw capable, together with the earlier events as discussed, of destroying the trust and confidence between the claimant and the first respondent.”

Regarding the issue of age discrimination, it added: “We do not think [the manager’s] comments – namely high energy, energetic and youthful – were, by themselves taken in isolation, sufficient to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust between employer and employee.

“However, they chipped away at the relationship from the claimant’s perspective and in the entirety of the circumstances it was reasonable for him to feel that way.

“We have heard nothing about [Tango Networks’] alleged practice of dismissing colleagues who do not fit with the brand image, and we find there was not one.”

Tango Networks was contacted for comment prior to publication.