Boy, 16, who missed interview loses job fight
WANTED: Enthusiastic self-starter at busy commercial cleaning company. Requirements: Must be able to find his way to the job interview.
For most people, losing out on the chance of a new job is not something you want to shout about. But rather than keep it quiet, Darren Mirren failed to show up for his interview and then sued the employer when he could not find his way to the office.
Legal experts believe the teenager typifies the growing "compensation culture" in Britain which can see a 16-year-old sue a prospective employer and leave the taxpayer to foot the bill.
Darren, from Pollok, in Glasgow, had his age-discrimination claim rejected yesterday by an Employment tribunal in Glasgow following a four-month case.
The teenager had applied for a job as a cleaner with Spotless Commercial Cleaning in Glasgow and was invited for an interview at the head office.
The tribunal heard that when he failed to turn up, he was contacted at home where he explained that he didn't know how to find his way from Pollok to the company's Shettleston office – a 20-minute car journey.
The company said they told him how to get there and he was offered the chance of another interview, which he failed to take up.
Throwing out his claim for age discrimination in a written judgment yesterday, the tribunal ruled that the teenager had not been offered a job with the company because he failed to turn up for an interview, not because of his age.
Last night the teenager, who is still unemployed, was adamant he was in the right. "It wasn't my fault. I was unable to get there because they didn't give me any directions.
" "I felt it was discrimination because of my age."
Lawyers said the case was an example of the "blame culture" which resulted in people bringing spurious cases to court.
Cameron Fyfe, a solicitor, said: "The fact that he didn't turn up shows it was ludicrous to consider legal action.
"Some people seem to think that if anything goes wrong they can claim compensation for it."
Mr Fyfe called for a system of vetting to be introduced at tribunals to weed out some of the less worthy cases, similar to that used in the criminal courts.
At the hearing earlier this month, it emerged that the teenager's mother already worked for the company at Braehead shopping centre and when a vacancy came up for another cleaner, she suggested her son might be interested.
The tribunal heard that the youngster would not have been offered the job at Braehead because, being an unsupervised site where a floor buffer is used, Spotless would not have allowed an under-18 employee to work there.
A spokeswoman for the company, which employs 800 people throughout the UK, said they were amazed that it ever got to a tribunal.
"This is the most bizarre tribunal case we have ever had. We didn't even meet him. He didn't turn up for two interview requests and it ended up at a tribunal."
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