This case demonstrates that, even if an employer is correct in its interpretation of a contractual term, the manner in which it deals with an employee in respect of that term can still give rise to a constructive dismissal.
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.
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