26-03-2013

Lower severance payment for younger employee objectively justified

A 26-year old civil servant accepted voluntary redundancy and received severance pay of almost £11k. If she had been over 35 she would have received around £28k. She claimed direct age discrimination, using over-35s as comparators.

Her claim failed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with the Employment Tribunal that under-35s and over-35s were not proper comparators because older employees would suffer more as a result of losing their jobs than younger employees. Even if they had been proper comparators, the fact that the employer had tried to provide a proportionate financial cushion for the older workers until they could find new jobs, because getting new jobs would take them longer, was objectively justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.