In a decision affecting more than 200 judges, the Employment Tribunal (ET) held that members of the judicial pension scheme (JPS) had been unlawfully discriminated against on grounds of age.
The JPS was closed to future accrual and all active members were transferred into a less valuable scheme. However, older judges were allowed to remain in the JPS until retirement or until the end of a transitional period, depending on their age.
The government accepted that the transitional period was less favourable to younger members and could not convince the ET that this was objectively justified to achieve a legitimate aim.
The government has applied to appeal the decision.
Age discrimination is always a hot topic.
The case is a useful reminder that, if implementing changes that treat some members less favourably than others because of age, it is always important to ensure there is:
- a robust, well reasoned and rational aim for treating members differently; and
- the aim is supported by evidence.
We recommend employers and trustees keep contemporaneous records to be able to demonstrate that they considered these points and the rationale behind their decisions.