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Secretary of State for Trade and Industry v Rutherford [2006] UKHL 19

Sections 109 and 156 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which imposed an upper age limit of 65 for claims for compensation for unfair dismissal and redundancy pay, did not have an adverse impact on a substantially higher proportion of men than women and therefore did not constitute indirect discrimination on the ground of sex.

12 May 2006

The appellants (R) appealed against the decision that ss 109 and 156 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 did not constitute indirect discrimination on the ground of sex. R were two men who had both continued to work beyond the age of 65 and were both subsequently dismissed. R wished to claim redundancy payment and compensation for unfair dismissal, but ss 109 and 156 of the Act stood in their way. Statistics showed that a higher proportion of men continued to work beyond the age of 65 compared to women. R contended that since more men than women over the age of 65 were still in employment, relatively more men than women were prevented by the statutory bar from making claims for unfair dismissal or redundancy. R argued that that disparate effect constituted indirect discrimination, contrary to Art 141 of the EC Treaty (Nice). R submitted that in determining the proportions of those adversely affected it was necessary to have regard to the statistics for employees under 65 and over 65, ...

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