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Age Discrimination

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Was a tribunal entitled to dismiss a claim of direct age discrimination brought by an employee who, on termination of employment, forfeited the right to an award under a Long Term Incentive Plan ('LTIP')?

Yes, held the Court of Appeal in Air Products Plc v Cockram.

The Claimant, a member of the employer's defined benefit pension scheme, resigned at the age of 50. In doing so he lost the right to an unvested award under the employer's LTIP. If the Claimant had been 55 he would have retained the right to an award because 55 was treated as the 'customary retirement age' for the purposes of a retirement exception in the LTIP.

In reversing the decision of the EAT, the Court of Appeal held that the tribunal had been entitled to find that the aim of achieving consistency between defined benefit members (who could retire at 50) and defined contribution members (who could not) was "a legitimate social policy aspect of intergenerational fairness". Further, on the available evidence the tribunal had been entitled to make the findings it did on the question of proportionality.

Thanks to Saul Margo for preparing this case summary.