Mrs McLean worked for Capita as a Solicitor working on a legal helpline. She was paid approximately £36,000 per annum. In 2008, the legal helpline lost a number of clients and was taken over by Forum law.

In order to save costs, Forum law carried out a restructuring exercise which led to a number of posts being downgraded. The helpline was to be restructured and mainly staffed by less experienced advisors, such as graduate trainees and paralegals, who were paid a much lower rate than Mrs Duggan (approximately £15,000-£22,000). Mrs Duggan was offered one of these new positions after being unsuccessful in her application for a more senior post.

Mrs McLean brought an indirect age discrimination claim and argued that this restructuring puts people of her age group (over 30) at a disadvantage.


Whilst the Tribunal agreed that the new positions would be more attractive to a trainee rather than someone with more experience such as Mrs Duggan, it held that there would be no disadvantage to anyone applying for the role, whether aged over or under 30. In addition, the Tribunal noted that the role was available and was offered to individuals over 30 and with greater qualifications than Mrs Duggan.

The Tribunal stated that the test for an indirect discrimination claim is one of disadvantage and Mrs Duggan had not provided any evidence of this. Accordingly, her claim was dismissed.

The judgment is available here.

Mrs I McLean v Forum Law t/a Legal Assistance Direct, Bury St Edmunds Employment Tribunal case number 1501006/2010