One day, two age discrimination cases in UK’s Supreme Court
Thu, 26 Apr 2012
Two judgements handed down by the Supreme Court of the UK regarding the employment of legal professionals could have major implications at either end of the careers spectrum.
As reported by recruiter.co.uk
yesterday, a judgement against a former lawyer Lesley Seldon who had been forced to retire from his firm could mean that employers may legitimately enforce mandatory retirement
Later that same day, a separate case found that former policeman Terence Homer was indirectly discriminated against on age grounds.
When Homer left the police force he began work as a legal adviser to the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) in 1995, a position for which a legal degree was not compulsory.
A 2006 re-assessment of his pay grade saw him excluded from gaining extra salary on the sole grounds that he did not have a degree. He was then 62 years of age and it was seen as almost impossible that he could graduate with a law degree before the expected retirement age of 65, and the Supreme Court ruled that this was indirect discrimination.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Chris Welham, employment lawyer at Hogan Lovells, comments on the Homer case: “Employers will have to take a cautious approach to requiring job applicants to have a degree, or failing to promote employees without a degree… It will question whether high levels of experience is an acceptable substitute to having a degree.”
Chris Ball, chief executive of The Age and Employment Network (TAEN), comments on the Seldon case: “This ruling has taken us forward in recognising that stereotypes of the older worker are no longer acceptable.”
He adds that it is “a welcome move forward in the fight against age-discrimination”.