Leslie Seldon a partner who sued his own firm of Kent solicitors when he was compulsorily retired at 65, has lost his age discrimination case at the Court of Appeal. Audrey Williams, partner and head of discrimination at international law firm Eversheds comments:

“Although the Court of Appeal’s judgment provides welcome clarification of some aspects of the law relating to justifying direct age discrimination, it is far from clear what the Court meant when it held that an employer’s aims must be ‘consistent with the social or labour policy of the United Kingdom which justified the Regulations’.

Part of the problem is that it is difficult to discern what those social or labour policy aims might be. The High Court judge in Heyday identified the aim as ‘preserving the confidence and integrity of the labour market’. Yet the Court of Appeal’s ruling suggests it recognised broader policy aims behind the Regulations.

Whatever the government’s aims may be, the Court of Appeal’s decision that an employer’s own aims need only be ‘consistent with’ those of the State implies employers might have a broad discretion when justifying age based rules and policies.”