Employers should beware of using terms like “youthful enthusiasm” in an advert if they want to avoid falling foul of the age discrimination regulations. A tribunal in Northern Ireland has ruled, in McCoy v James McGregor and Sons Ltd, that it was contrary to the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 to do so.

Mr McCoy, 58, was interviewed for a job with the firm but was unsuccessful despite being very experienced. The two successful candidates were 42 and 43.

He complained to a tribunal, arguing that the company was guilty of age discrimination against him.

And the tribunal agreed. It said that by asking for someone with “youthful enthusiasm” when it advertised the post and by asking Mr McCoy repeatedly at interview if he had the necessary drive and enthusiasm to do the job, the company had taken his age into account when deciding who to appoint.