Search

How can we help?

Icon

Pension scheme did not discriminate workers

In Dr Parker v MDU Services Ltd, the claimant alleged that her employer’s pension scheme indirectly discriminated against workers who had a combination of full and part-time service.

The claimant worked as a full-time employee with MDU until March 1991.  Following the birth of her daughter, the claimant commenced working on a part-time basis and continued to do so until her retirement in January 2015.  The scheme calculated that she had worked 21 full-time equivalent years out of the possible 28 full-time years she had been in service and a reduction was therefore applied to her pension.

Amongst other matters, she claimed that MDU had breached the sex equality rule under section 67 of the Equality Act 2010.  In bringing this claim, the Tribunal identified the correct comparator as being someone who was the same age as the claimant, working full-time and who had commenced employment at the same time as the claimant.  It found that the comparator would have accrued pension at the same rate as the claimant and that she was not, in its view, being paid less by way of pension entitlement than a full-time worker.  The Claimant appealed, arguing that the choice of comparator was wrong.  In doing so, she sought to rely on a man of the same age retiring on the same date as her with 21 years’ full-time service.

In bringing this claim, the Tribunal identified the correct comparator as being someone who was the same age as the claimant, working full-time and who had commenced employment at the same time as the claimant.

The EAT did not find that the Tribunal had made an error in its choice of comparator and rejected the claimant’s choice on the basis that it would fail to give effect to an important element of the scheme (i.e. that the accrual rate depended on the age at which the member joined).

As part of its Judgment, the EAT followed an earlier Supreme Court decision and found that an employer is able to rely on a later justification of a potentially discriminatory practice – even if it was not in its mind when it adopted the practice in the first place.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 12 June 2024
  • Privacy and Data Protection

UK data protection: Important basics

Sometimes, data protection can seem like unhelpful red tape. At other times, it is critical to cultivating a trustworthy reputation.

art
  • 11 June 2024
  • Immigration

UK Immigration Roundup – May to June 2024

As the UK approaches the upcoming general election, immigration remains a focal issue in political discussions. The Conservative party’s recent proposal to cap visas for skilled migrant workers has alarmed various industries who are concerned that a limit to migration could harm vital sectors of the UK economy.

Pub
  • 06 June 2024
  • Employment

Talking Employment Law: What does the new Worker Protection Act 2023 mean for employers?

In this podcast, Lucy Densham Brown and Shauna Jones, members of the employment team, will review the new Worker Protection Act 2023 and provide some guidance on how employers should review their policies in preparation for October.

art
  • 03 June 2024
  • Commercial Real Estate

Sustainability and commercial property: green leases  

Climate change is considered by many the biggest threat we are facing today. With the UK said to have one of the oldest housing/building stocks, the focus on a building’s environmental performance and sustainability has never been more critical.

art
  • 03 June 2024
  • Employment

Using AI technologies in recruitment: is it fair and transparent?

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, where artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly pivotal role in HR and recruitment processes, ensuring responsible and ethical implementation is paramount.

Pub
  • 03 June 2024
  • Employment

Navigating the Labour Party’s New Deal for Working People: Legal implications and opportunities

Join Monica Atwal and Amanda Glover, for this in-person seminar on ‘Navigating the Labour Party’s New Deal for Working People: Legal Implications and Opportunities’ at our Reading office on Thursday, 20th June.