26 April, 2012
The Supreme Court has handed down important judgments in the eagerly anticipated cases of Homer v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes. Both of which focus upon the interpretation of a rule that allows employers to justify age discrimination if they can prove it is a "proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim".
The Supreme Court held that a compulsory retirement age contained in the firm's deed of partnership was a directly discriminatory measure but that it was capable of justification, and was therefore legally acceptable, as it was founded on legitimate social policy aims - summed up as 'inter-generational fairness' and 'dignity'.
The Supreme Court unanimously upheld Mr Homer's appeal and found a compulsory retirement age to be indirectly discriminatory. Mr Homer asserted that he had been treated less favourably on the ground of his age, primarily because he would not be able to obtain a law degree before he was likely to retire, the retirement age having been set at 65, unlike younger employees. This therefore prevented him form achieving the top grade in the new payment grading structure.
Forbes Solicitors can provide employment law advice in relation to these matters. If you require further advice or assistance then please contact Jonathan Holden on 01254 222399 or contact Jonathan Holden by email.