Council Employees Win Right to Bring Age Claim against London Borough

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld the right of 16 employees of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham the right to pursue claims of age discrimination against the Council. The employees argued that the criteria set out in the council’s long-service award scheme was an unlawful breach of the age discrimination regulations.

The scheme, which provided financial payouts to those who had worked for 25 continuous years and were aged over 55, paid out additional benefits over five stages to those who met both criteria.

All of the claimants in the Loraine Pulham vs London Borough of Barking and Dagenham case had worked for the council in excess of 25 years, but were under the age of 55 by the time the scheme was withdrawn.

The first hearing, by Stratford Employment Tribunal, took place in March 2008 and saw the claim unanimously dismissed.

Unison, the trade union, took the case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and another hearing took place in July 2009.  That appeal has now been upheld, although the case is being sent back to the tribunal for a revised hearing.

Commenting on the EAT’s decision, Dave Prentis, Unison’s General Secretary, said: “This is a huge victory in the fight against age discrimination.  It was not fair that they put in decades of service at the council and were then told that they are too young to receive a reward.

“This is a victory for any worker who is told that long service is rewarded by age, as this case has shown that it is a breach against regulations.

“Age discrimination is totally unacceptable and we hope that this will make all employers think twice.”


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