This was a case brought by 21 drivers all of whom were over the age of 67 and worked as drivers for Purple Parking limited (“PPL”). PPL provide airport parking facilities at Heathrow Airport.
In March 2012, PPL had to renew their car insurance. PPL’s insurance company, Allianz Insurance PLC (“Allianz”), would not continue to insure the claimants. Allianz were concerned over the disproportionately high number of claims involving drivers over 67.
In June 2012, PPL dismissed all twenty-one drivers aged over 67. PPL’s reason for dismissal was that its insurance company refused to provide insurance cover for the claimants.
All 21 drivers bought claims of unfair dismissal and direct age discrimination.
PPL admitted liability for age discrimination and unfair dismissal. PPL admitted this because documents showed that Allianz had clearly stipulated that the origin of the age restriction was not imposed by them. PPL expressly asked Allianz to change their policy to exclude older drivers.
The ET ordered PPL to pay compensation to the 21 drivers in respect of their unfair dismissal and direct age discrimination complaints.
The ET looked at whether it should award aggravated damages. The ET assessed this under three heads.
The first head was the manner in which the wrong was committed. The wrong was aggravated by lies told by the respondent and heightened by the sham consultation meeting. The second head related to motive. PPL had used the age of the drivers to reduce their insurance premium and provide a pretext for dismissal of the drivers. The third head related to subsequent conduct. The ET referred to the fact that some individuals within PPL allowed the case to proceed, despite the fact that their defence was based on a lie. Taking PPL’s conduct into account according to these three heads, the ET decided that it should award aggravated damages of £4,000 per driver.
The ET also awarded injury to feelings. All drivers were awarded at least £10,000. This was due to the fact many felt hurt because they were dismissed through no fault of their own and had planned to work until they were physically or mentally unable to do so.
In total, compensation awarded to the 21 drivers totalled £632,473.79. PPL also agreed to pay the costs of nine of the claimants (totalling £68,756).
The judgments are available at the links below
Mr D Wright and others v Purple Parking Limited, case number 330277/2012 and 20 others, Watford Employment Tribunal