Mr Johnson was a civil servant until he was made redundant in April 2007. At the time of redundancy he was aged 57 years and one month. He was entitled to a lump-sum payment of six months' final pensionable pay under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS). Under the CSCS rules, payments were tapered progressively for those aged 57 to 60 on departure and so Mr Johnson's lump sum was reduced accordingly. Mr Johnson submitted a complaint to the Pension Ombudsman, claiming that the tapering of his redundancy payment was in breach of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.
In 2008, another former civil servant, Mr Wallis, had succeeded in his claim in the Employment Tribunal that such tapering was unjustifiably age discriminatory under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 (Wallis and others v The Cabinet Office and others).
In Mr Johnson’s case, the Cabinet Office submitted that Employment Tribunal decision did not create a precedent so the Pension Ombudsman did not have to follow the outcome. The Cabinet Office also argued that there had been no carelessness or fault in its operation of the pension scheme and so there had been no maladministration.
The Pension Ombudsman upheld the complaint as against the Cabinet Office. The Pension Ombudsman saw no reason not to reach the same decision in Mr Johnson's case as the Employment Tribunal had in Wallis, which was that tapering was unjustifiably age discriminatory. The Pension Ombudsman also found that applying the taper in breach of the Age Regulations was “faulty administration” which amounted to maladministration.
The Pension Ombudsman therefore directed the Cabinet Office to pay Mr Johnson the balance of the lump sum that would have been payable without tapering, plus simple interest.
Johnson -v- The Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence (Pension Ombudsman decision)