The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Elizabeth Ovey of Radcliffe Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Objective justification is a phrase most often encountered as shorthand for the process of showing that a provision, criterion or practice (PCP), which is disadvantageous to an individual or group when compared with others, is nevertheless a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Under the Equality Act 2010, s 19(1)–(3), objective justification is a defence to a claim of indirect discrimination on the basis of a relevant protected characteristic (eg, age or sex). In general, objective justification cannot be a defence to a claim of direct discrimination, subject to two exceptions:
it may be a defence to a complaint of direct age discrimination. The Equality Act is the current Act by which the UK gives effect to the European Framework Directive (sometimes called the Equal Treatment Framework Directive) and such an exception is permitted by art 6(1) to the extent that the differences in treatment are justified by a legitimate aim ‘including legitimate employment policy, labour market and vocational training objectives’
it may be a defence to a complaint of direct discrimination between full-time and part-time workers under the Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, SI 2000/1551 or between permanent and fixed-term employees under the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, SI 2002/2034. For further information, see Practice Notes: Part-time workers—discrimination issues relating to
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