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The Court sent the case back to the re-constituted employment tribunal for a decision whether the provision, criterion or practice (PCP) by the employer for a law degree to be required for employees to proceed to the third tier of its career grading structure was justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. The Tribunal did not accept the employer’s PCP argument and defence to the age discrimination towards Mr Homer.
They stated that the requirement for the law degree was aimed at recruiting quality candidates and therefore it was appropriate or reasonably necessary to require existing candidates to have a law degree too. The employment tribunal considered all the facts of the case, including the failure of the Business Director to inform Mr Homer at the time he offered to fund his law degree studies in 2003, that failure to obtain the degree would impact on his career.
This decision shows how difficult it is to provide a PCP defence to claims of age discrimination and therefore, employers should always seek professional advice if contemplating going down this route before they take any action.
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