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.
In Small and others v Boots Co and another  All ER (D) 200 (Jan) EAT, the EAT held that the fact that the employer had stated that a bonus was discretionary did not necessarily mean that it had no contractual effect. The employer's discretion could relate to: whether or not to operate a bonus system at all; whether or not to award a bonus in a given year; or the amount of bonus to be awarded.
A review of a number of recent employment tribunal decisions suggests that some employers remain unaware of the implications of, or are struggling with, the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/1031), which became law on 1 October 2006. The decisions also demonstrate the approach that the tribunals might take to the question of justification of discrimination and to the assessment of injury to feelings compensation.
In Commerzbank AG v Keen  IRLR 132 CA the Court of Appeal held that an employer did not act in breach of the implied terms of a contract of employment in awarding to a highly paid employee lower bonuses than those recommended by his manager. Further, the terms of employment contracts are not covered by the provisions of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.
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