Age Discrimination

Key Points

  • The overriding principle under the Equality Act 2010 is that it is unlawful to discrimination against an individual based on their age/age group unless the treatment can be objectively justified.
  • In relation to pension schemes, a number of important exceptions apply to the general principle that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age. These are contained in the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010 (SI 2010/2133). 
  • Where a particular practice does not fall within one of the exceptions, for it to be lawful it must be shown to be objectively justified – that is, a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
  • 'Cost' alone is not sufficient to objectively justify a discriminatory practice, although the case of Woodcock v Cumbria Primary Care Trust [2012] EWCA Civ 330 did call into question how much additional evidence from an employer is needed in certain circumstances.
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