Employers that indulge potentially discriminatory office "banter" may end up liable, as this case demonstrates.
The Court of Appeal has held that it could be legitimate for a law firm to have a cut-off age after which partners are required to retire to avoid forcing an assessment of their drop in performance, thus maintaining a confrontation-free workplace.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that a redundancy scheme that incorporated an age-related cap on payments was a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aim of preventing employees from receiving a "windfall" and was not age discriminatory.
In this case, the employer's incorrect approach to a restructure led to an unfair dismissal and age discrimination.
This week's case of the week, provided by DLA Piper, covers age discrimination.
In Pulham and others v London Borough of Barking and Dagenham EAT/0516/08, the EAT held that it is open to an employer to seek to justify the adoption of discriminatory pay protection arrangements following the abolition of a discriminatory incremental pay scheme. However, in this case, the tribunal's decision to the effect that the employer was justified on the facts could not be upheld, because its approach to the assessment of justification was legally flawed.
In Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets v Wooster EAT/0441/08, the EAT upheld a finding that the redundancy dismissal of a 49-year-old employee amounted to age discrimination. The tribunal was entitled to find that the employer could have found alternative work for him, but that it had failed to do so because it was concerned that, if he remained employed up to the age of 50, he would be entitled to a more generous early retirement package.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that, contrary to the position with sex discrimination, pay protection arrangements that are discriminatory on the ground of age are always potentially justifiable.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an employer committed direct age discrimination against an employee when it made him redundant at the age of 49 in order to avoid paying an early retirement pension that he would be entitled to if he left employment when he was aged 50 or over.
The European Court of Justice has held that the UK legislation permitting employers to dismiss employees aged 65 or over if the reason for dismissal is retirement can, in principle, be justified under the Framework Directive.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to direct age discrimination.