City Lawyer Loses first major Ageism Claim

Peter Bloxham, a former partner at the City lawyers, Feshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, has lost his age discrimination claim against the firm. The claim was the first high-profile case to come before an Employment Tribunal and the decision handed down is likely to be seen as a ‘landmark’ ruling.

The Tribunal found that although Freshfields had discriminated on the grounds of age when it introduced a new pension scheme but it also found that the discrimination was justified because it was proved to be a proportionate means of achieving its ultimate aim, which was the reform of the firm’s pension system. Therefore the Tribunal dismissed Bloxham’s claim, considering it was without foundation, and ruled that he had not been “forced” to retire any more than those partners around his age (55) who also had to choose whether to take up Freshfields’ new pension package.

The Tribunal’s verdict could have an impact on claims from other former Freshfields lawyers who were reported to be lining up to bring their own claims had the Tribunal decided in favour of Bloxham.

Will he appeal the decision ? His advisors, Dawsons Solicitors, say he is reviewing the implications of the result and the options open to him. A spokesperson for Dawsons commented:

"Our client is naturally disappointed but his case has clarified the interpretation and application of the new law. Although the Tribunal’s decision has not gone his way he was entirely justified in questioning a process that has been shown to be discriminatory."

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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