Pump Court Chambers

Claimant is awarded over £140,000 for indirect age discrimination and unfair dismissal

News 10th February 2021
Naomi Gyane

Naomi Gyane has successfully represented the Claimant in her Tribunal claim for indirect age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The Claimant worked as a teacher in an independent co-educational prep school. She worked for the school for 17 years. The school introduced a new requirement that all teachers needed to obtain a degree or a Level 6 NVQ qualification to continue to work as teachers. This was not a legal requirement in the private school sector but the Respondent argued the requirement was reasonable and justified in order to promote high quality teaching and compete with other fee-paying schools.

The Claimant was 60 years old when the requirement was introduced. She did not have a degree or Level 6 NVQ equivalent. Nevertheless, she had relevant qualifications, teaching experience and was a valued member of the teaching staff. As the Claimant planned to retire at 66 years old, she did not believe there was enough time before her intended retirement age for her to obtain any real benefit from completing further study. This was particularly considering the costs associated with achieving the required qualification. When she declined to undertake the further study because of her age, pending retirement and the costs associated with qualification, she was dismissed.

The Claimant brought a claim for indirect age discrimination and unfair dismissal. Naomi Gyane argued the Claimant’s dismissal was unfair and discriminatory. The Tribunal agreed. They held the Claimant’s dismissal was both substantively and procedurally unfair. The Tribunal was not satisfied there was any merit in the Respondent’s reason for dismissing the Claimant and held the decision fell far outside the range of reasonable responses. The Tribunal also agreed that that those in the Claimant’s age group were at a particular disadvantage in having to comply with the requirement to complete qualifications. This was due to the time available to complete such study and get the benefit of it before retirement. The Tribunal held, rejecting the Respondent’s case, that that there was no need to dismiss the Claimant and that the Respondent’s actions were not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Naomi Gyane secured awards for the Claimant at Tribunal for injury to feelings, loss of earnings and future loss of earnings up to the date of her intended retirement. For information on the case as reported in the media please click here.

For further information on her practice, please contact her clerks on 020 7353 0711 or via email: clerks@pumpcourtchambers.com.


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