5 September 2004 LAWFUEL – Best for law, law news, legal news, attorneys, legal research Two men fighting for older workers to have employment rights are waiting to consider their next step after the Court of Appeal today turned down their case.
Mr John Rutherford, 72, and Mr Samuel Bentley, 76, had initially won their case at an Employment Tribunal, which effectively gave thousands of people working beyond retirement age employment rights for the first time.
However, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) which overturned the first tribunal’s decision.
Mr Rutherford and Mr Bentley were given leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal and Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice Potter and Lord Justice Scott Baker heard their case on 25 and 26 March 2004. Many other similar cases have been put on hold pending the outcome of this case.
Mr Rutherford, of Rainham in Essex, is represented by Paul Quain of law firm Charles Russell in London; and Mr Bentley, from Islington, London, is represented by Anna Corrigan, of Islington Law Centre. Robin Allen QC is counsel for both men. Mr Rutherford is being advised by Charles Russell on a Pro Bono basis.
Paul Quain, of Charles Russell’s Employment & Pensions Group, said of the decision: “Naturally, we are disappointed at this decision but have long-prepared for this situation. We believe we have a strong case and we now have the option of taking this to the House of Lords or European Court of Justice. Judges who have considered this case before have raised the issue of the compatibility of this country’s law with that of the European Union.”
The two men had been dismissed from their jobs in the clothing industry as they were over 65, but the law did not allow them to bring their cases to an employment tribunal to claim compensation for unfair dismissal or to claim for redundancy payment.
Mr Rutherford was 67 when he lost his job as a production pattern room controller at Harvest Town Circle Limited, Upper Clapton, E5, London (which has since been wound up) in 1998, and Mr Bentley was 73 when he was dismissed in 2001 from Bodner Elem Limited (which went into receivership).
Until the UK implements the age discrimination strand of the EU Directive on Equal Treatment in October 2006, age discrimination per se is not outlawed in the UK.
The men first took their case to Stratford Employment Tribunal, London, in June 2002, where the legal teams argued that there were twice as many men as women over 65 who worked, and therefore the retirement cut-off point at 65 years discriminated against men.
On Friday 23 August 2002, the Tribunal ruled that the two men had suffered indirect sexual discrimination on the grounds that more men than women worked beyond retirement age. The EAT overturned that decision on 2 October 2003.