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Compulsory mass retirement of police officers based on statutory provision was not unlawful discrimination

March 30, 2017

 

The Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the EAT that the use of the Police Pensions Regulations 1987 for retiring a large number of police officers, following budget cuts, was justified and not unlawful indirect age discrimination.

 

The Court held that there was practically no difference between this situation and one where an employer has to make redundancies. In this case the police forces were entitled to decide how many officers they needed to lose and that it was lawful to limit the pool to this group of officers because there was no other method of selection.

 

Discrimination law does not allow tribunals to scrutinise management decisions about the number of staff required by the employer or how resources should be prioritised. So it was not up to the tribunal to devise an alternative scheme involving the loss of fewer posts and to reject a justification case on the basis that the respondent should have pursued a different aim which would have had a less discriminatory impact.

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