Barking Council age discrimination appeal won

ANGRY council workers who feel they have been unfairly discriminated against because of their age won their claim at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Last week 16 employees from Barking and Dagenham authority argued that the criteria set out for the counci

ANGRY council workers who feel they have been unfairly discriminated against because of their age won their claim at the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Last week 16 employees from Barking and Dagenham authority argued that the criteria set out for the council's long service award scheme was unlawful.

They said it breached Age Discrimination Regulations.

The scheme saw employees over the age of 55, who had worked for the council for 25 years continuously, get a payout and additional benefits.


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But the claimants in the Lorraine Pulham vs the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham case said the system was unfair as they had worked at the council in excess of 25 years but were under the age of 55 by the time the scheme was pulled.

On Wednesday October 28 the 16 employees celebrated a victory at the appeal tribunal where their original verdict was overturned.

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But trade union, Unison, which represents many of the borough's council staff, took the case to appeal and another hearing was held in July 2009.

Last weeks the appeal was upheld and the claimants will now have their case sent back to tribunal for a revised hearing.

A council spokesman said: "The Council had a Local Skills and Knowledge scheme under which employees were paid a supplement on attaining 55 years of age, and attaining 25 years of service with the Council.

"The Scheme was closed on 31 March 2007 to new entrants, but staff who were already in receipt of the supplement had their payments protected and continue to receive their supplements.

"Because the claimants were below the age of 55 on 1 October 2006 they are excluded from the scheme. Unison challenged this change and took it to an Employment Tribunal which upheld the Council's case. However, following an appeal by Unison, The Employment Appeal Tribunal has referred the case back to the Employment tribunal for further consideration.

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