Age discrimination claim after employee described as a “demanding millennial”

The decision by the Employment Tribunal in Patel v Lucy A Raymond & Sons Limited has received media attention after insurance boss Lucy Raymond-Williams suggested 26 year-old Jay Patel “had been given everything on a plate” before dismissing him.


In 2020, Jay Patel was employed by insurance firm Lucy A Raymond & Sons for just over a month.

Originally, the firm were looking to recruit a fully qualified accountant. However, managing director Lucy Raymond-Williams made an exception when hiring Mr Patel because he was dyslexic. Dyslexia was a matter of ‘huge importance’ to Mrs Raymond-Williams, as she had relatives with the condition and had also previously set up a dyslexia charity.

After going into national lockdown two days into his job, Mr Patel was forced to work from home. Mr Patel struggled with his work, to the extent that colleagues expressed concerns regarding his capability to perform in his role.

In December 2020, just one month into his job, Mrs Raymond-Williams decided to dismiss Mr Patel because she had “taken the wrong decision in giving a dyslexic person the job”. When Mr Patel asked for feedback at his dismissal meeting, he was told by Mrs Raymond-Williams that he was “too demanding, in common with his generation of millennials”.

Mr Patel claimed against Lucy A Raymond & Sons on the grounds of both age and disability discrimination.


The Employment Tribunal dismissed Mr Patel’s age discrimination claim. Judge Heath identified that while Mrs Raymond-Williams’ comment related to Mr Patel’s age, the reason that Mr Patel felt distressed by it was not because of his age, but in fact because of the suggestion that he “had been given everything on a plate”.

The Tribunal heard that Mr Patel felt that 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, very little in life had been handed to him on a plate.

The Employment Tribunal did uphold Mr Patel’s discrimination claim on the grounds of disability. The Tribunal found that when Mr Patel was hired, the firm took no steps to enquire how Mr Patel’s dyslexia affected him as an individual; what specific requirements he might have; and what they could do to address any of his needs.

Judge Heath referred to Mrs Raymond-Williams’ evidence that she had taken the wrong decision in offering the job to a person with dyslexia in the first place. Her comments led the Tribunal to infer that Mr Patel was not up to the job because of his disability, which Mrs Raymond-Williams was very aware of before hiring Mr Patel. The firm’s decision to then dismiss Mr Patel constituted a ‘sudden about-turn’ on its decision to hire him only a month or so ago.


The case highlights that employers need to be clear about their reasons for dismissal and avoid any language which could result in ambiguity. While in this case it was found that Mr Patel did not suffer from age discrimination, the language used by an employer must be carefully considered to ensure that the impact of its comments will not be deemed discriminatory by an employee.

Whilst Mrs Raymond-Williams advocated for people who suffered from dyslexia, she failed to consider the specific ways in which it affected Mr Patel’s day-to-day life. Instead of applying her own pre-established understanding of dyslexia, Mrs Raymond-Williams should have taken steps to identify how Mr Patel’s disability affected him as an individual.

All employers must uphold their duty to make reasonable adjustments when they know, or could be expected to know, that an employee or job applicant has a disability. In light of this case, employers should take the time to consider whether their workplace policies could put employees with a disability at a disadvantage.
Going forward, employers should adopt a proactive approach by evaluating their policies and procedures regularly and introducing reasonable adjustments as soon as practicable, with a view to reduce or remove the disadvantage for the employee with a disability.

For further information or to discuss the issues raised by this update, please contact our Employment Group on 0118 977 4045 or

This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter.



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Darren Smith
Partner, Employment
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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