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Purple Parking workers win age discrimination battle

by on March 11, 2014

The Independent reported here yesterday the successful age discrimination case aganist Britain’s biggest airport car parking company, Purple Parking. Part way through the employment tribunal hearing, the company admitted age discrimination against its workers after dozens were sacked for being ‘too old’.

According to the news report, workers were told they could no longer work over the age of 67 due to a change in its insurance policy’s exclusions for older employees. But it emerged in the hearing that Purple Parking had actually asked its insurer to change its policy to exclude older drivers, while requesting it not to apply to directors and their spouses.

It’s a rather odd case, in the sense that it doesn’t involve some complex interpretation of whether an employer was justified in their action – the “was it a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim” test. Instead, Purple Parking seems to have deliberately sought this age-based exclusion in the policy and then tried to defend the inevitable claim for age discrimination by its employees (supported by the Unite union). The article reports how the instructions from the company only came to light after an order was made for disclosure of the key documents from the insurer, Allianz, who themselves described the request for such an age limit as ‘unusual’. It’s also odd in that the company sought an age restriction for its workers but specifically not for its directors and their spouses. One law for the bosses etc etc??

The company has been ordered to pay up to £78,000 each to the 21 employees who took it to the Tribunal. But apparently it’s ‘considering its position’ pending the Tribunal’s written judgment. So might we hear more about Purple Parking?

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