Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2014 position: 81

Enhanced redundancy payments for older workers were not age discriminatory

The Court of Appeal, in the case of Lockwood v Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), has upheld a decision that a voluntary redundancy scheme, which benefited older employees over younger ones, constituted unfavourable treatment on the grounds of age. However, it also found that the DWP was justified in its reasons for this treatment, thus meaning the employee’s age discrimination claim failed.

In order to bring a successful age discrimination claim, an employee must satisfy a two-part test: first that he has been treated less favourably than a real or hypothetical comparator; and second that the employer does not have an objectively justified reason for the discriminatory treatment.

In this case, Miss Lockwood was 26. She had worked for the DWP for eight years when the DWP declared that her role was no longer necessary. She decided to take advantage of the DWP’s voluntary redundancy programme. Under the scheme, an age banding system applied whereby older employees benefited over younger ones…

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