More hurdles to jump to objectively justify discrimination following Woodcock

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of Woodcock v Cumbria Primary Care Trust [2012] EWCA has been eagerly awaited as it was expected to determine whether consideration of costs could, on its own, justify indirect discrimination generally, and direct discrimination in relation to the protected characteristic of age.

However, although the Court of Appeal confirmed that Mr Woodcock's treatment on grounds of his age was justified, it did not change the established position that costs alone is not likely to be enough to justify a potentially discriminatory practice.

The case has potential implications for the pensions industry as costs are often a substantial factor in retaining a rule or practice which is potentially discriminatory and is not covered by a specific exemption in the Equality Act (Age Exceptions for Pension Schemes) Order 2010.

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