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Capping exit pay-out for disabled police officers to prevent ‘windfall’ was discrimination

In Chief Constable of Gwent Police v Parsons and Roberts, the claimants were two police officers who were disabled under the Equality Act.  Due to their disabilities they were in possession of ‘H1 Certificates’ which allowed them immediate access to a deferred pension on leaving the police.

The police force provided an exit scheme analogous to a redundancy scheme.  Under this scheme, the claimants were entitled to 21 and 8 months’ pay respectively but the police force decided to cap this to 6 months’ pay on the basis that their entitlement to a deferred pension alongside this would have given them a ‘windfall’.

Due to their disabilities they were in possession of ‘H1 Certificates’

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that this amounted to unfavourable treatment arising in consequence of the claimants’ disabilities.  It held that, whilst preventing a windfall may amount to a legitimate aim, here there was no evidence that the claimants would have received more from the full compensation sum then they would have got had they remained in employment until retirement.  The mere fact that they got the deferred pension was not enough to amount a windfall.

This case is a reminder of the complexities relating to claims of discrimination arising from disability.  It is also a reminder of the importance of presenting evidence to the tribunal to support arguments as the police force, in this case, did not put forward sufficient financial information relating to the alleged windfall the claimants would receive.

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