Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Policy v Homer EWCA/Civ 2010/419

The Court of Appeal held in this case that requiring certain employees to hold a degree in order to attain a higher paid grade was not indirect age discrimination in respect of an employee who did not have time to get the degree before his retirement. The particular disadvantage he suffered was not as a result of age discrimination, but because of his impending retirement. The Court held that the same result would apply to anyone else who similarly stopped work before qualifying.

Key point: Employers should be wary of relying too heavily on this case as imposing such a universal barrier could give rise to claims that it still disadvantages a large number of older candidates who had or have less opportunity to attend higher or further education. The need for a degree as a recruitment or promotion criterion could well be found to be discriminatory on the grounds of age in other cases.