Older workers lose in landmark case


first_imgOlder workers lose in landmark caseOn 7 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. The Government has won its appeal against a tribunal ruling that could havegiven hundreds of thousands of older workers new employment rights. In August, the tribunal gave two pensioners, John Rutherford from Essex andSamuel Bentley from London, the right to claim unfair dismissal and redundancypay. The pair won, under European law, after arguing that they suffered indirectsexual discrimination because more men than women over 65 continue to work inlater life. But the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) argued at appeal that it wasincorrect to conclude there was sexual discrimination against men because ifyou looked at the workforce as a whole, there was no discrimination by the law.If Rutherford and Bentley’s claim had been upheld, the case would have hadimplications for hundreds of thousands of workers and their employers. Manyother similar cases were put on hold pending the outcome of this case. Paul Quain, the Charles Russell lawyer who represented Rutherford, said thepair are considering going to the Court of Appeal and perhaps further. “This is an extremely important case,” he said. “Peopleworking after retirement age are an increasingly significant part of theworking population.” But Sam Mercer, director of the Employers Forum on Age (EFA), said thatseeking to abolish upper age limits for unfair dismissal by bringing a sexdiscrimination claim is not the best way to improve the situation for olderworkers. “[It] is better for both employers and employees to wait until theupper age limit on unfair dismissal is removed as part of new age laws that areto be introduced in 2006,” she said. “Employers are planning for these new laws, but cannot be expected tomake fundamental changes to employment policy and practice overnight.Introducing policies that are well thought through is preferable to theconfusion that case law decisions can cause.” The full decision is available at www.employmentappeals.gov.uk/uploads/EAT1029022252003/index.htmBy Quentin Reade Previous Article Next Articlelast_img

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