A 67 year old clerical worker, Ann Southcott, has won her job back after being dismissed from Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro in 2006 at age 66 the day before the new age discrimination rules came into force. If she was dismissed one day later, on 1 October 2006 she would have been entitled to 11 months' pay (one for each year of her service) rather than the 11 weeks' pay she was told she would receive.
Unison, the health workers union had planned to take her case to an employment tribunal. However, the hospital trust settled out of court allowing her to return and awarding her back pay from October with no loss of continuity of service.
Mr Gray, Mrs Southcott's legal representative, argued successfully that, despite the fact that Mrs Southcott had been dismissed one day prior to the introduction of the new rules, the tribunal should accept Mrs Southcott’s age discrimination claim because the EU directive implementing the rules had already been introduced.
This argument was based on a recent German case that had been decided by the ECJ - Mangold v Helm. In this case, the ECJ ruled that individual country deadlines for implementing the EU directive were purely practical measures and they did not mean that the individual country is free to ignore the directive until that date.