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4 February 2013
Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
HHJ Peter Clark, Mr C Edwards and Mr G Lewis
Paying more redundancy pay to older people than younger people is justified because older people have more difficulties if they lose their jobs.
Ms Lockwood took voluntary severance from the Civil Service. Her severance payment was about 61% of that of a colleague who was aged over 35 with the same length of service. Ms Lockwood complained that the difference in payment amounted to age discrimination.
The employment tribunal, upheld by the EAT, rejected her claim on two grounds:
1. that Ms Lockwood and her comparator could not properly be compared because there was a material difference between them - the greater difficulty that 35+ year-olds have in finding other employment (but isn't that an argument that the different treatment was justified, rather than that the situations were different?); and
2. the need to provide a proportionate financial cushion for workers until they find alternative employment, and the fact that the financial cushion required was greater for older workers, provided objective justification for the difference in treatment.
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