26 April 2012 #Employment
In the case of Homer v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police both the EAT and the Court of Appeal rejected the claim of indirect age discrimination.
Mr Homer held a role working for the Police National Legal Database. A new grading structure was introduced, which required employees to hold a law degree to reach the highest grade. In order to get a law degree, Mr Homer would have needed to study part time for 4 years, alongside his day job. At the time Mr Homer was 62, and the new laws regarding the abolition of the default retirement age had not come into force. Therefore there would not have been enough time for Mr Homer to complete his degree and enjoy a promotion to the highest grade, before being required to leave his job, due to retirement.
Consequently, Mr Homer claimed that he had been subjected to a criterion that had put persons of his age group, including himself at a particular disadvantage, compared with other persons. This claim was rejected by the EAT and Court of Appeal, both stating that Mr Homer was put in a disadvantageous position because of his impending retirement, not his age.
The Supreme Court however, disagreed with the above and upheld Mr Homer’s appeal, confirming he had been indirectly discriminated against on the grounds of age. It was stated that Mr Homer was disadvantaged because of retirement, but this essentially related directly to his age. However, in this case it is still open for the employer to justify the discriminatory requirement. The issue has been referred back to the employment tribunal for consideration.