Hogan Lovells

Key Dates

Judgment handed down on 14 July 2017


Summary

The Court of Appeal upheld the EAT decision that it was not discrimination arising from a disability to calculate an ill-health retirement pension by reference to the part-time salary the claimant was earning at the point of retirement.

Background

The claimant took ill-health retirement at age 38 because of disability. He was entitled to a pension calculated as if he had worked on until retirement age, paid immediately and without any actuarial reduction, although based on his salary at the date of his retirement. At that time he was working half time, having had his hours reduced at his request, in the last two years of employment, to accommodate his disabilities. He claimed that this was a breach of section 15 of the Equality Act (unfavourable treatment because of something arising in consequence of his disability: working part-time) and that his pension should have been calculated by reference to a full-time equivalent final salary.

The Employment Tribunal accepted his case but the EAT upheld the employer's appeal.

Judgment

The Court of Appeal upheld the EAT's decision. Treatment which confers advantages on a person with a disability but which would have conferred greater advantages had the disability arisen more suddenly (for example, someone who had been working full-time but then suffered a heart attack leading immediately to permanent incapacity) could not amount to unfavourable treatment. If the logic of the claimant's argument was correct, a disabled person who secured a part-time job because he could not work full-time would also be able to claim discrimination arising from a disability on the basis of being paid a part-time rather than full-time salary. It could not have been Parliament's intention that the onus in those circumstances would fall on the employer to show that paying a part-time salary was justified.



Date Accessed: 03/12/2021