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Footplate Courses - Age Discrimination

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Steve, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    And what of the guy bringing the case in the first place..

    Whats his motivation of stuff like this ?
    he sought to pursue a charity via a legal route.

    No time for folk like that.

    I believe the railway could just refuse to serve him.. there's nothing in law that says you must serve every customer that walks through the door.. right of refusal and all.

    I think he should donate that £1200 he won to a railway charity of his choosing, if this was only about making an example or righting of wrongs..
     
  2. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    I kind of agree with your comments, and it's definitely conceivable that he's an arse and behaved accordingly. However it's also possible that he got petty 'jobsworth' treatment and reacted proportionately.

    You've got to be pretty pee'd off and confident of success to spend time on court cases.

    Simon
     
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  3. Christoph

    Christoph New Member

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    I find this very interesting. I know of at least one preservation society where you are banned from volunteering on a moving vehicle with passengers on board from the end of the year in which you turn 75. That age limit is imposed irrespective of a possible positive outcome of a medical examination which is annually once you have passed your 70th birthday anyway. I know it's an extension to the original content but I wonder what will happen if one frustrated volunteer takes them to court.

    Christoph
     
  4. Learner

    Learner New Member

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    Interesting to see people laying into lawyers at the first available opportunity - speaking as solicitor some of the views on here are looking to blame an entire profession for the actions of a very small minority, and also seeking to blame them for how the law is structured.

    The law allows insurance companies to discriminate on the grounds of age, whereas heritage railways cannot. Don't blame lawyers for that - we don't make the law! There is a way round it and Tom has already pointed in the right direction. Alternatively railways could find insurers that would provide cover - those that don't would soon change their tune.
     
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  5. nickt

    nickt New Member

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    If you apply for travel insurance for a holiday to the US, etc, you'll find that those over 65 pay far more than those under, irrespective of their health. Presumably that's legal because thousands of people are affected, so maybe an insurance company can legally impose an age limit of 70 for footplate experience participants, which would leave the operator in a very tricky position.
     
  6. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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    If the railways put in their information that they are unable to offer a service over a set age due to been unable to get insurance, them should stop these claims happening as the railway has stated they are not responsible for this upper age limed as this is set by the insurance company.
     
  7. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    Worth remembering too that there are numerous lawyers involved in the preservation scene, many of whom give their professional expertise to the movement on a pro bono basis, as well as being volunteers etc in their own right.
     
  8. Neil_Scott

    Neil_Scott Member

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    Are there many railways that stop people from driving passengers trains once they reach 70?
     
  9. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    An interesting discussion that I had not thought about before despite receiving my old age pension. I spent a few minutes digging and extracted these points from an ACAS guidance document. I think this is a fair summary of the law. I have deleted the clauses that I believe unrelated.

    "Treating people differently because of their age will only be justifiable in exceptional circumstances.

    You may treat people differently on the grounds of their age if you have objective justification. An objective justification allows employers to set requirements that are directly or indirectly age discriminatory.
    Both direct and indirect discrimination will be justified if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. A legitimate aim might include the health, welfare and safety of the individual (including protection of young people or older workers). The legitimate aim cannot be related to age discrimination itself.
    The test of objective justification is not an easy one and it will be necessary to provide evidence if challenged; assertions alone will not be enough. Only the Courts can define what objective justification is."

    This does not allow arbitrary limits on the grounds of age alone. In the case above it would be necessary to show that people over 70 generally are not safe on locomotive footplates. This is clearly false.

    Regarding the insurance issue: "In the case of Foreman v Oasis Taxis Mansfield Limited, taxi drivers earlier this year were successful in an age discrimination claim brought against a future employer after being told they couldn't be hired as drivers because the employer's insurance provider would not cover them because of their age. The drivers in question were over the age of 69 and would not therefore qualify as "approved drivers" under the terms of the insurer's policy.

    The tribunal held that this was indirect age discrimination, as the requirement for obtaining insurance put the individuals at a particular disadvantage - the insurance company would not provide cover, and so the employer in question here would not recruit the individuals as drivers.

    The future employer failed to show that it had objectively justified this treatment. The tribunal held that only employing a driver in respect of whom its present insurer would provide cover for was not a proportionate way of ensuring that all drivers had insurance cover."
     
  10. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    I believe the difference is the type of policy - a personal policy - where an individual is being insured - can be age limited, or have age related premiums. However, the public liability policy clearly can't say "yes, we will insurance claims from those up to x age, but not over that" - what responsible organisation would permit people over x age on site, yet they, not being an insurance company, could be sued for trying to refuse access purely on age.

    Footplate experience type "products" have a customer, who is insured under the Public Liability policy. Ill-health or lack of fitness, but not age related, is a legitimate reason (see Enterprises post - protection of the individual in their own circumstances in a given situation). The situation could even be different for a worker, who is insured under the Employers Liability policy but I believe the need for individual risk assessment to be similar. Personal policies such as health, travel or life insurance would be different and the law does permit age discrimination.

    Steven
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The two I'm involved with don't.
     
  12. rule55

    rule55 Member

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    And interestingly, if you can get through your medical you can plod on to a ripe old age on the mainline railway but there is a difference between the two scenarios; I'm guessing that, providing you say you are fit enough to do a footplate experience, then no other medical proof is required. I can imagine that might prove challenging in a small number of cases if the customer has been a bit economical with the truth when booking the course.
     
  13. burnettsj

    burnettsj New Member

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    What about railways having minimum ages for certain safety critical roles - such as driver?
     
  14. Corbs

    Corbs Member

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    The posts by enterprise, tom and others have been very thought provoking and I do now understand the other side of the argument, thank you.
    In the end I think I am just sad that this has happened and that people have lost out :(
     
  15. Bean-counter

    Bean-counter Resident of Nat Pres

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    That, I would suggest, is most crucially linked to the gaining of experience and the demonstration of knowledge. I am not aware of a minimum age for drivers so much as a minimum age for starting footplate progression. How quickly an individual progresses to driver once starting as a trainee depends on regularity of attendance, aptitude and hence speed of gaining and demonstration of knowledge.

    I would suspect that any system that simply said "and you must be x age" would be seen as discriminatory and rightly so - if the individual had demonstrated the necessary competence.

    Steven
     
  16. jtx

    jtx Member

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    It's 75 at the Severn Valley. All operational roles. Driver, fireman, guard, signalman. We've lost a lot of good people over the years because of that.
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    That's age discrimination! Are those involved lining up to claim compensation?
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The Train Drivers Licensing Regulations 2010 lay down a minimum age of 20 but these do not apply to heritage railways.

    HRA Guidance, which is endorsed by the ORR, states that no person shall undertake Safety Critical work (except as a trainee) until they attain the age of 18 and no person shall perform the duty of driver under the age of 21. It also states that there is no upper age limit for safety critical work. Trainees can start footplate work at 16; 18 for driving.

    Whether the HRA guidance will come into line with the big railway age limit, I don't know.
     
  19. The Decapod

    The Decapod New Member

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    £1200 should be enough for 3, 4 or maybe even 5 footplate experiences!
     
  20. ADB968008

    ADB968008 Guest

    He was offered his footplate course at half price..
    explain that to the volunteer driver, guard etc, who's giving up his personal time for free, from the crack of dawn until days end, to provide the course to this person !
     

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