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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Redundancy & Discrimination


Age Discrimination

Kirk v Citibank 3200291/2018, East London Employment Tribunal

Facts Citibank made K redundant from his post of chair and managing director of the bank’s energy and natural resources division for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. A senior manager allegedly told him that he was old and set in his ways. K argued against the redundancy and complained that the consultation exercise had been a sham. He was dismissed in February 2018 and claimed age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Decision 1. The claim of age discrimination was upheld. The provision of information which resulted in his dismissal was directly linked to his age.

2. K had been unfairly dismissed. He was not given notice of a proposed reorganisation until after the decision to dismiss him for redundancy had been made.

3. There had been no meeting with K to discuss alternative roles nor did the employer approach K’s responses to the consultation exercise with an open mind.

Palmer v Royal Bank of Scotland plc UKEAT/0083/14/MC

RBS operated a VER (Voluntary Early Retirement) policy. This allowed employees over the age of 50 to take VER. RBS then decided to change the policy so that only employees over the age of 55 could choose VER. RBS announced that it would be making redundancies and deferred the change in the VER policy. Employees who were at risk of redundancy, including P, had already decided between VER, voluntary redundancy or redeployment. RBS allowed employees between the age of 50 and 55 to change their decision and opt for VER instead. P had opted for voluntary redundancy at the age of 49 and did not qualify for VER. She argued that she should be allowed to change her mind and choose redeployment instead, in the hope that the redeployment process would take long enough for her to reach the age of 50 so that she could then opt for VER. RBS did not allow her to do this. She complained of age discrimination. The complaint was dismissed by the employment tribunal. She appealed to the EAT.

The appeal was dismissed.

The tribunal had been entitled to conclude that less favourable treatment had not been established. P’s comparators could lawfully have chosen VER but P, at her projected date of leaving employment, could not.

The tribunal had correctly identified a legitimate aim on the part of RBS and had decided that the means of achieving it were appropriate. It had not sufficiently balanced the importance of achieving the aim against the discriminatory group, of which the claimant was part, of being denied the chance to revisit their options after the delay in making the adjustment to the policy on VER.

Demosthenous v Sosa Factory Ltd (2016) Eq Opp Rev 272:24, Watford ET

D was dismissed for redundancy at the age of 67. She complained of age discrimination.

The ET found as follows:

  • In the absence of any evidence of redundancy, the burden of proof on the claim passed to the employer.

  • The claim succeeded.

  • No proper procedure had been followed by the employer.

  • In relation to comparators, two employees aged 58 and 60 were proper comparators despite the narrow difference in age, because D’s age group was those entitled to draw state pension whereas the comparators were not.

Injury to feelings award: one off act: serious matter with substantial effects: £5000 plus £552 interest plus reimbursement of tribunal fees.

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