Search our news, events & opinions

On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.

30 July 2013 0 Comments
Posted in Employment, Opinion

Qualification requirement with age discrimination

Author headshot image Posted by , Partner

In a case which went all the way to the Supreme Court before being remitted back to the Employment Tribunal, Homer v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police has held that the requirement to obtain a law degree in order to obtain the highest pay grade amounted to unjustified indirect age discrimination.

The Claimant was 62 years old and did not have time to obtain a degree before his retirement at age 65. The Supreme Court had decided that although the requirement to have a degree amounted to indirect age discrimination it was for the Tribunal to decide whether the employer was able to show that the requirement was nonetheless justified.

In short, the Tribunal found that the requirement was neither appropriate nor reasonably necessary to enable the employer to attract and retain advisers of a high-calibre and in particular the employer had failed to show that allowing existing staff to progress to the highest level without a degree would have been unworkable or unfair. It accepted that, in introducing a new grading structure requiring a law degree to achieve the highest grade, the employer was pursuing the legitimate aim of recruiting and training the requisite calibre of staff. However where it fell down was in showing that the means of achieving the aim were proportionate. The employer was not able to show that it was proportionate and necessary to achieve the aim that the existing legal advisers had to hold a law degree in order to progress to the highest pay grade.

This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.

For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.

Leave a comment

Thank you for choosing to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and please do not use a spammy keyword or a domain as your name or it will be deleted.





It pays to employ the right employment solicitor

Learn more


T: 020 7842 1496 (DDI)

Search our news, events & opinions