Putting the Old in Golden Balls?


12 August, 2010

Jonathan Holden

Following recent comments after yesterday's England friendly against Hungary which seem to threaten the future international career of football superstar David Beckham, Forbes Solicitors is issuing a fresh warning to employers to keep their eye on the ball to avoid discrimination claims.

On questioning by journalists prior to the match about the potential likelihood of selection for David Beckham, Mr Cappello said that in his view Mr Beckham may now be too old for international football, and that it was unlikely he would be selected again.

Regardless of the footballing argument, this raises issues in the field of discrimination.

Jonathan Holden, Employment Law Solicitor at Forbes Solicitors comments, "Every employer has a legal responsibility not to discriminate against employees and workers on grounds of age. In this situation, failing to select someone on grounds of age could be potentially discriminatory. The only defence to such a claim would be for the employer to show that this can be objectively justified. In this situation the employer would therefore have to demonstrate the selection of players on grounds of age was a legitimate method of producing more favourable results. However, in practice this can be very difficult to do."

Whilst it is unlikely that any football player would bring a claim on grounds of age, this nevertheless highlights the potential pitfalls open to employers. Compensation for discrimination claims is unlimited and therefore it is important that all employers are aware of their rights and responsibilities in this complicated area.

For assistance in dealing with the ever changing field of discrimination law, please contact Jonathan Holden at Forbes on 01254 222399.


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