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Footplate Courses - Age Discrimination

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

  1. Enterprise

    Enterprise Well-Known Member

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    Better communication might have helped but I don't believe the details are available of what led to the court action. However, stating that their insurance policy did not allow over 70s would not have helped once it went to court. The exemptions from the Act that insurance providers enjoy works more subtly than that.
     
  2. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Clearly Peak Rail should not have discriminated on the basis of age. Perhaps though time for all heritage lines to send out risk assessment forms along with bookings so that participants can self assess. This should probably be a condition of participation. The thing that does disappoint is a firm of lawyers crowing about their victory over a hard pressed charity, how do these people sleep at night?
     
  3. Charobin

    Charobin New Member

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    Guidance on safety critical work circulated by the HRA in 2012 states:
    There is no upper age limit for staff undertaking Safety Critical Work, ability must depend on ongoing competence and fitness. To bar an individual from Safety Critical Work on grounds of age alone may be in contravention of the Equality Act 2010.

    Quite sad that the individual concerned resorted to the legal route, but it seems clear to me that the advice was there from our industry body to be ignored at your peril!

    Unfortunately there is another legal case relating to a driver experience course being brought against a well known miniature railway at present, which I suspect will have greater repercussions that the case against Peak Rail.
     
  4. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Guest

    Interestingly, one of our heritage lines here in Sweden charges lawyers 500 kronor for membership, as opposed to the 300 for anyone else. I wonder why ...!! :D
     
  5. howard

    howard New Member

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    A rather foolish project in my view. How on earth do you get someone in a wheelchair off the footplate in the event of a blowback, burst gauge glass etc?
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    The HRA guidance referred to relates to safety critical work and not footplate experience.
     
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  7. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Ok A hard pressed enthusiast supported plc then. Frankly if you can't see the difference between this and some huge, faceless multinational raking in vast profits and riding roughshod over the rights of the little guy then nothing I can say is likely to change your mind and if you think {edit by moderator} "they" {end edit} were right to wring £1200 plus costs out of Peak Rail then that's fine if it help s you sleep at night. (Oh - I'm talking about morally right not legally right BTW.)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2014
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  8. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    "Let's kill all the lawyers", per Jack Cade, in one of Shakespeare's plays.

    Seriously, we do need lawyers - I am one myself although now happily retired. But I am not always proud of my profession, and certainly not on this occasion.

    John
     
  9. Matt78

    Matt78 Well-Known Member

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    My point was that the public won't see the difference. I didn't make any comment about what my own view was. I would be just as upset/annoyed if this happened to the railway that I am involved with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  10. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    I would like to credit the public with a little more sense. Having worked in the US for many years one of my concerns was that their ambulance chasing, litigious ways would make it across the pond. Sadly this has proved to be true. The cult of "blame somebody else" and "demand your rights" is now entrenched here. We have far too many stupid laws and even more rapacious lawyers ready to exploit them.
     
  11. Felix Holt

    Felix Holt Guest

    Mea culpa - the result of relying on translating software! It appears the extra rate is not for the poor ol' lawyers, but for 'legal entities' (i.e. companies). Ah well .... :oops:
     
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  12. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    It may sound like a good idea, but not all lawyers are stinking rich!
     
  13. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    I apologise for my poor choice of words which has forced the moderators to edit a previous posting of mine in this thread. I had not meant to cause any offence.
     
  14. Robert Heath No.6

    Robert Heath No.6 New Member

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    Interesting point that somebody touched on earlier in the thread: If they can't legally deny somebody a place on the course above their upper age limit if that person is deemed to be physically and mentally healthy, can they legally deny somebody a place on the course below their lower age limit if that person is deemed to be mature and physically capable? As "Health and safety, guv" isn't reason enough, should pres lines be considering this too?
     
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  15. Sym33

    Sym33 New Member

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    Most heritage railways have I think a minimum age of 18 for footplate experience days. While we all know the tales of 16 year old cleaners being sent out as firemen on steam locos at times of extreme pressure in BR days and earlier that never extended to 16 year old drivers! I don't think current national guidelines allow under 18s to act as drivers on the National Rail network, even under supervision. Surely this would be a defence against any attempt to sue a heritage railway for following suit?
     
  16. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    See post 39 in this thread. However, footplate experience is not acting as driver or fireman.
     
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  17. John R

    John R New Member

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    Assuming Hallam took up the entitlement to a half price course, I wonder how welcome he was made to feel by the volunteers.
     
  18. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    One would hope they acted as professionals and offered the same as to any other participant. Acting in bad blood would not make the situation any better, nor do anything for moral high grounds!
     
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  19. Seagull

    Seagull New Member

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    On the K&ESR, Railway Experience partipants over 75 are required to provide a letter fom their GP stating that they are fit enough to participate in the activity. It must be remembered that participants are not the driver, they are novices under strict supervision. The driver must ensure that the locomotive is fully under his control at all times and may make adjustments to the day's programme if a participant isn't up to it. There is no legal upper limit for train drving but experience has shown that as people get older, reaction times can slow and physical strength deteriorate. As drivers get older, both medicals and competence assessments become more frequent. The only legal age restrictions for train driving specified in ROGS are 18 for trainee driver and 21 for drivers
     
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  20. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    I have been a bit busy over the past couple of weeks, so this thread has developed without my seeing it.

    The fact that discrimination is wrong can be easy to understand if you flip the protected characteristic. Imagine that the applicant had been refused a place on the driverex course if they had been black? or female? or homosexual?

    If heritage railways wish to make money from selling goods and services they need to take account of the laws of the land - and we, as a society have decided that certain 'protected characteristics' are just that - protected.

    But it usually isn't so hard to comply. How would WE like to be treated? And wouldn't it have been EASY to ask the insurance company to extend cover, or what health information they might require to do so?

    As far as the law firm 'crowing' about their success, it is another feature of the real world called advertising. No doubt heritage railways 'crow' about how good their driver experience courses are?

    As far as shooting all the lawyers go, I should caution that I am a lawyer who is also a qualified armourer:).....but seriously, we do tend to be your best friend or your worst enemy depending on where we and you are sitting when you get to court. And I have spent thousands of voluntary hours helping heritage railways, and organisations and individuals associated with them deal with such issues.

    A while ago a heritage railway was asked about a profoundly deaf individual who wanted to participate in a driverex course. They are plainly protected as a disabled person. After some (voluntary - so free) advice from me, arrangements were put in place for that individual to be accompanied by another person to act as his ears and to translate comments to him in sign language. It required some alterations to who was on the footplate as there was an extra person involved. But all concerned had a great day, the Railway made its fee, and I understand there have been some repeat bookings. Easy really.

    kind regards

    Robin White
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2014

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