Dinu Suntook, Cane Pickersgill and Poppy Fildes are all associates at Addleshaw Goddard. They round up the latest rulings.
The employment tribunal in this case found that it was not age discrimination for the civil service to place limits on the amount that it would pay under a voluntary "early-release scheme" designed to encourage turnover in the workforce.
In this decision, the employment tribunal was critical of a local authority that failed to keep an employee at risk of redundancy in employment for six more months during a transitional period. The decision had been taken to avoid a pension payout and constituted direct age discrimination and unfair dismissal.
In Woodcock v Cumbria Primary Care Trust  IRLR 119 EAT, the EAT held that an employer that directly discriminated against a redundant employee by bringing forward his notice of dismissal to avoid incurring the substantial costs of enhanced pension entitlements that would crystallise on his 50th birthday was justified in doing so. Although not directly relevant in this case, the EAT also cast doubt on the "cost plus" approach to justification.
In Rosenbladt v Oellerking Gebäudereinigungsges mbH  IRLR 51 ECJ, the ECJ held that art.6(1) of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive does not necessarily preclude domestic legislation that permits the use of automatic termination clauses based on the retirement age, or the use of such clauses in collective agreements. The crucial issue is whether or not such measures are objectively justified.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has questioned the current approach adopted by tribunals that an employer cannot justify age discrimination on the ground of cost alone.
In Kraft Foods UK Ltd v Hastie EAT/0024/10, the EAT held that a contractual redundancy scheme that capped payments at the total amount of earnings that the employee would have received prior to retirement was justified as a proportionate means of preventing redundant employees from receiving a windfall.
In Seldon v Clarkson, Wright and Jakes and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills  IRLR 865 CA, the Court of Appeal held that the employment tribunal did not err in finding the claimant's compulsory retirement at age 65 objectively justified. The policy was a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aims of encouraging young people to seek employment, through the ability to offer good promotion prospects, and of promoting collegiality in the firm.
The European Court of Justice has held that a German law allowing employers to agree with employees under a collective agreement that they must retire when they become entitled to a pension could be justified.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to direct age discrimination.