Employment News Update: Age discrimination case narrowly avoids extending employers’ liability

In this article, Makbool Javaid, Partner and Head of Employment law examines the facts and the practical implications arising from the Court of Appeal’s ruling in CLFIS (UK) v Reynolds. The Court held that an employment tribunal adopted the correct approach when considering whether a decision to terminate a consultancy agreement was on the grounds of the claimant’s age. The tribunal had rightly focused only on the mental processes of the company’s General Manager who took the decision to end the agreement, even though his decision had taken into account the views of two managers who had criticised the claimant’s performance. In order for unlawful discrimination to be established, the individual employee who did the act complained of must have been motivated by the protected characteristic, and there was no basis on which his act could be said to be discriminatory on the basis of someone else’s motivation. Overturning the EAT, the Court held the EAT had erred by stating that the involvement of other individuals in the process should not be disregarded where they had a significant influence on the decision to dismiss. The correct approach was to treat the conduct of the person supplying the information as a separate act from that of the person who acted on it.

This article appeared in the CIPD People Management Online Magazine on 11 May 2015

Link for CIPD members

Link for non-CIPD members: CLFIS (UK) v Reynolds