Mr Seldon was a partner at a law firm. When he was required to
retire at 65, in line with the firm's policy, he brought a
claim for age discrimination.
The employment tribunal found against him. The firm's policy
was justified, the tribunal said. It was a proportionate means of
pursuing legitimate aims. In this case, the legitimate aims were to
do with giving younger staff a change to progress, helping with
workforce planning and limiting the need to expel underperforming
partners and so engendering a supportive culture.
This went all the way to the Supreme Court via the Employment
Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal. Mr Seldon argued that the
employer's aims didn't justify direct age discrimination,
and that the treatment had to be justified specifically in relation
to his case and not the retirement policy generally.
His arguments failed. The Supreme Court said that the firm's
aims were social policy aims (inter-generational fairness and
preserving the dignity of older workers) rather than individual
business needs (cost-cutting or improving competitiveness). And
they were legitimate, justifying direct age discrimination.
The case has been sent back to tribunal to decide whether
choosing the age of 65 for retirement was a proportionate means of
achieving the firm's legitimate aims (rather than, say, 67 or
70). We'll have to wait and see.
Until then, while it might be possible to justify a retirement
age, we don't have any guidance on what that age might be. This
case certainly doesn't open the door for employers to start
retiring staff at 65 without some very careful thought, and a bit
more direction from the courts.
Thomas Eggar LLP is a limited liability partnership
registered in England and Wales under registered number OC326278
whose registered office is at The Corn Exchange, Baffin's Lane,
Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1GE (VAT number 991259583). The word
'partner' refers to a member of the LLP, or an employee or
consultant with equivalent standing and qualifications. A list of
the members of the LLP is displayed at the above address, together
with a list of those non-members who are designated as partners.
Regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Lexcel and
Investors in People accredited.
Thomas Eggar LLP is not authorised by the Financial
Services Authority. However, we are included on the register
maintained by the Financial Services Authority so that we can carry
on insurance mediation activity which is broadly the advising on,
selling and administering of insurance contracts. This part of our
business, including arrangements for complaints and redress if
something goes wrong, is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation
Authority. The register can be accessed via the Financial Services
Authority website. We can also provide certain further limited
investment services to clients if those services are incidental to
the professional services we have been engaged to provide as
Thesis Asset Management plc, our associated financial
services company, provides a comprehensive range of investment
services and advice. Thesis is owned by members of Thomas Eggar LLP
but is independent of and separate to it. No lawyer connected with
Thomas Eggar LLP provides services through Thesis as a practicing
lawyer regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Thesis is
authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
Thesis has its own framework of investor protection and
professional indemnity cover but Thesis clients do not enjoy the
statutory protection of solicitors' clients.
The contents of this article are intended as guidelines for
clients and other readers. It is not a substitute for considered
advice on specific issues. Consequently, we cannot accept any
responsibility for this information or for any errors or
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
In October 2012, the Court of Appeal confirmed that a Service Provision Change ("SPC") TUPE transfer can only occur where the client who receives the service, before and after the change, remains the same (Hunter v McCarrick  EWCA Civ 1399).
Following much debate, on 24 April 2013 the House of Lords finally gave its approval to employee shareholder status which will now take effect from Autumn 2013.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”