No Age Discrimination Where the Detriment Was Caused by the Statutory Retirement Age

Mon, 19 Jul 2010

In Homer v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2010] EWCA Civ 419 the Court of Appeal has rejected Mr Homer’s appeal from the EAT that he did not suffer age discrimination when he declined to take a law degree (which was a condition of receiving the highest increment in his role with the Police National Legal Database) on the basis that at 59 years old he was too close to retirement to justify embarking on the course. As Mummery LJ put it, “the key fact is that persons in Mr Homer’s age group would stop working at on retirement at 65. That is why 65 was set as the upper age limit of those included in that group. In those circumstances, their inability to satisfy the law degree provision was not a particular disadvantage resulting from the application of that provision to person of their age. The particular disadvantage complained of resulted not from age at all, but from the fact of impending withdrawal from the workforce at 65”. 
The judgment has been criticised in the Equal Opportunities Review on the grounds that the Court’s reasoning looks at the “cause” of the indirect discrimination whereas the definition of indirect discrimination does not require a finding on causation, all that is required is that the age group is in fact put at a particular disadvantage by the criteria.

Summary by Anthony Korn

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