Yesterday's ruling by the UK High Court dismissing two women's claims of sex and age discrimination could work in favour of older workers in general.
Basically, two women had filed a judicial review action claiming statutory increases in state pension age for women born in the 1950s breached their civil rights on grounds of age discrimination, sex discrimination and lack of notice.
The High Court rejected these claims in a judgment handed down yesterday (October 3) at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Hearing the case, Lord Justice Irwin and Justice Whipple even stated that the raise in state pension age for women addressed previous long-standing discrimination against men.
How might this decision be useful to older workers in general?
Traditionally, men could claim state retirement pension at 65 and women at 60. This recently changed to 67 years and both sexes will, under current government plans, eventually have to work until they reach 68 years.
Of course, in an ideal world state retirement pension ages for both men and women would have equalised down to 60 years instead of going up. But ours is not an ideal world.
But if we are deemed fit enough to work longer years, any notions over whether mature workers are better or worse than their younger counterparts weakens. Such age discrimination is illegal today but it goes on nonetheless.
The High Court's highly public confirmation that we all have to work longer can therefore be viewed as further argument that older job applicants and employees should not have to experience age discrimination.
03 October 2019
The judicial review, which took place in June, was brought by two claimants - Julie Delve, 61, and Karen Glynn, 62 – who argued that raising their pension age "unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined".
On age discrimination, the court rejected the argument that the legislation breached the European Convention on Human Rights, on the “basis of case law which establishes that a state can introduce a new legislative scheme which effects changes from a given date based on age”.
The judges also concluded that there was no direct discrimination on grounds of sex, because “this legislation does not treat women less favourably than men in law, rather it equalises a historic asymmetry between men and women, and thereby corrects historic direct discrimination against men”.
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