A 61 year old barman who claimed his employers had sacked him as he was considered too old to serve Ibiza’s beautiful people, has won a claim for unfair dismissal.
His employer’s, a hotel group, are forced to reinstate him to his previous position of head barman.
The hotel in question, unnamed to the press, was one of many in Ibiza that have ‘upgraded’ their image in recent years. The hotel where the man worked as head barman for many years had previously served a mid-market family clientele. However, when the hotel had a major upgrade and changed its market to what he terms Ibiza’s beautiful people, he was sacked from his position. He is the only member of the bar staff to be sacked, and he is 20 years older than the next oldest member of staff – both factors he put forward in supporting his claim that he had been sacked unfairly due solely to his age which was not considered the right fit in working to serve Ibiza’s beautiful people.
The head judge of the Social Court number 1 of Ibiza, Ana Gómez, has annulled the head barman’s dismissal, stating that she accepted the arguments of the employee. The hotel does have the right to appeal, however for now they are obliged to reinstate the man as the judge said “the true reason for his dismissal lies in his age and because the hotel has been refurbished from being an establishment that accommodated families, to now accommodate ‘beautiful people’ with whom a bar boss in his sixties does not fit.”
The judge accepts the argument of the lawsuit as valid, annuls the dismissal and orders the company to reinstate its bar boss “in his job and under the same conditions that prevailed prior to the dismissal, as well as the payment of the wages not received from the date of being sacked to the date of his reinstatement”.
Speaking for the plaintiff, lawyer Joan Cerdà said “You have to think that for the waiter a dismissal at 61 means seeing his pension lowered, if he cannot work again, by approximately 50%. Since some family hotels were transformed several years ago in Eivissa into so-called luxury establishments focused on wealthy young people, there have been numerous dismissals of this type, according to some lawyers in recent years. “Hotels that ‘modernize’ eliminate their bald, pot-bellied and aging staff,” Cerdà summarized.
In previous cases, the lawyer said, the companies have accused these mature workers of being conflictive or of being drinkers, using the testimonies of other employees, but this time, in the absence of arguments on the part of those responsible for the hotel, the judge has ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
This worker has been a permanent employee of the company since April 2003, with the category of bar manager. In January of this year the company gave him the letter of dismissal and awarded him compensation of 9,666.95 euros.
The place where he works was an aparthotel until 2016 and, as of the year 2017, when a reform was carried out, it became a four-star hotel. The plaintiff is the hotel’s oldest worker. The rest of those who serve in the bar area are between 30 and 40 years old. This employee has been the only worker laid off.
The dismissal letter refers to the reason established in article 52.b of the Workers’ Statute, and also adds that “the cause that motivates the termination of their employment relationship has to do with the reorganization of the bar and hotel departments, for which is specified in the need to adjust the workforce due to the decrease in activity that has been taking place from 2018 to 2019, and which will especially be accentuated this year 2020 as a result of the evolution of the tour operator market and, above all, due to the fall of Thomas Cook that occurred last summer”.
However, the judge points out that the necessary information has not been provided to prove this claim, to which we must add that the company, at no time, has entered to contest with documents, despite the fact that it was requested to do so, the plaintiff’s argument and his argument that he has been fired because of his age.