Foster v British Gas [1990]

  • Created by: channyx
  • Created on: 20-03-20 23:26


A group of female appellants, including Ms Foster, had been employed by British Gas Corporation (BGC) and British Gas plc. In accordance with BGC policy, the appellants had all been forced to retire on reaching the age of 60, on various dates in 1985-86. This policy reflected the national state pension ages at the time: 60 for women and 65 for men.

Because the appellants wanted to continue working, they brought an action for damages, asserting that their compulsory retirement violated EU law. Article 5(1) of Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions (14 February 1976), known as the Equal Treatment Directive, provided that the 'application of the principle of equal treatment with regard to working conditions, including the conditions governing dismissal, means that men and women shall be guaranteed the same conditions without discrimination on grounds of sex'.

In proceedings before the House of Lords, the parties agreed that the appellants' dismissals breached Art. 5(1) of the Directive. However, the dismissals were lawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, because the UK had not yet implemented the Equal Treatment Directive…


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