A FORMER accountant from Stockton Heath has been awarded £182,000 in compensation after an employment tribunal found he had been unfairly dismissed by the company he served for 16 years.

John Peters, who worked for Warrington-based Rock Oil for around a decade and a half, spoke of his relief after the age discrimination case concluded in his favour.

The lubricant company, which is based off Priestley Street, had been ordered to pay thousands of pounds after a judge at an employment tribunal in Liverpool found Mr Peters had been discriminated against in an effort to get him to retire at the age of 65 against his wishes.

It was alleged the company dismissed Mr Peters on conduct issues.

The now 69-year-old said: "I am totally relieved that the matter has reached a conclusion after four years of stress and anguish.

“The matter was never about financial compensation but to preserve my good name and reputation in the field of finance and accountancy.

"I am also very disappointed that the company have shown no remorse or offered any apology throughout the whole process."

Mr Peters won his case following a five-day hearing in October 2015 and he received the compensation to account for his loss of earnings, benefits and the injury to his feelings at the end of March.

The award was enhanced due to Rock Oil´s failure to follow the ACAS Code of Practice.

Seabury Beaumont partner Ian Seabury, who acted for Mr Peters, said: "Should an employee not wish to retire, an employer conducting itself so unreasonably towards a long-serving employee will find it difficult to show that the reason for the treatment had nothing to do with the employee’s age and is therefore discriminatory.”

But Greg Hewitt, managing director at Rock Oil, outlined how the company has been trading for 88 years and has not been in this position before.

He added: "We respect the interpretations and findings of the tribunal and have used the whole experience to improve our internal systems to ensure that this remains the only mark on a solid track record.

"This record has seen us employ multiple generations of families from within the town and this continues to the current day.

"The ethos and desires of the business to welcome employees to the Rock family and together successfully grow the brand in difficult international trading conditions remain undiminished."