• Robert Spicer

Age Discrimination: Court of Appeal Decision

Material differences between age groups

Case Lockwood v Department of Work and Pensions (2013) Morning Star, December 6, CA

Facts L was employed by DWP as an administrative officer in 1999. In 2007 she applied for voluntary redundancy. She was aged 26 with eight years’ service and was entitled to a redundancy payment of £11,000. If she had been aged 35 or over, she would have been entitled to £18,000 more. L complained of age discrimination on the basis that an older worker with an identical length of service was entitled to a significantly larger sum than her. The ET rejected the complaint. It ruled that there was a material difference between L’s age group and the over-35s.The different payments reflected the difficulty which older workers would have in finding new employment, compared with L’s age group. This decision was confirmed by the EAT. L appealed to the EAT.

Decision 1. The appeal was dismissed.

2. The DWP was justified in paying older workers more severance pay than younger workers because younger people could find jobs more easily and had fewer financial commitments.

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