Retired workers sex discrimination claim rejected

The
Government has won its appeal against a tribunal ruling which could have given
hundreds of thousands of older workers new employment rights.

In
August, the tribunal gave two pensioners, John Rutherford from Essex and Samual
Bentley from London, the right to claim unfair dismissal and redundancy pay.

The
pair won, under European law, after arguing that they suffered indirect sexual
discrimination because more men than women over 65 continue to work in later
life.

But
the DTI argued at appeal that it was incorrect to conclude there was sexual
discrimination against men because if you looked at the workforce as a hole
there was no discrimination by the law.

The
case has implications for hundreds of thousands of workers and their employers.
Many other similar cases have been put on hold pending the outcome of this case.

Rutherford
and Bentley are currently considering an appeal.

Sam
Mercer, director of the Employers Forum on Age (EFA), said that seeking to
abolish upper age limits for unfair dismissal by bringing a sex discrimination
claim is not the best way to improve the situation for older workers.

"[It]
is better for both employers and employees to wait until the upper age limit on
unfair dismissal is removed as part of new age laws that are to be introduced
in 2006," she said.

"Employers
are planning for these new laws – but [they] cannot be expected to make
fundamental changes to employment policy and practice overnight. Introducing
policies that are well thought through is preferable to the confusion that case
law decisions can cause."

By Quentin Reade

Comments are closed.