Employment Cases Update

Heskett v Secretary of State for Justice UKEAT/0149/18/DA

Date published: 08/07/2019

Appeal against the ET’s decision that the Respondent’s pay progression policy was not discriminatory in relation to the Claimant’s age, because the Respondent had shown that it was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, a Probation Officer, contended that the change in the Respondent's pay progression policy (from three pay points per year to just one), as part of a wider government pay freeze in the light of the financial crisis, discriminated against younger employees. The ET found that the policy was prima facie discriminatory, in favouring employees over the age of 50 as against younger employees, but the Respondent had shown that it was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim within s 19(2)(d) Equality Act 2010. The Claimant appealed on grounds including that the reason for implementation of the policy was simply determined by cost, and could not amount to the achieving of a legitimate aim.

The EAT held that a distinction could validly be made between an absence of means and a Respondent seeking impermissibly to placing reliance solely on cost; through no fault of its own, the Respondent was compelled to find a way of squaring a circle brought about by central government policy. Accordingly, the appeal would be dismissed on all grounds.

Employment Claims without a Lawyer 2nd edition published March 2018

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.