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Age discrimination and retirement

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Legislation to abolish the default retirement age is due to come into force in October 2011. This means that employers will no longer be able to issue retirement notices to employees reaching the default retirement age. The only exception is where an employer can provide evidence to establish that there are objectively justifiable reasons for having a default retirement age, on the basis of a genuine business need.

If no default age can be justified then employers will be vulnerable to claims for unfair dismissal and age-related discrimination upon terminating the employment of older members of staff.

Longleat Safari Park recently dismissed all staff over the age of sixty-five. If employers wish to act similarly, they should still ensure that they comply with the correct procedure for retiring employees, including giving them the requisite six months’ notice.

Following the abolition next year, employers will need to tread carefully if they want to maintain a default retirement age and seek legal advice where they are in doubt as to whether this can be justified. The advisory, conciliation and arbitration service (ACAS) is due to publish amended guidance on retirement in January 2011.

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Written by Andrew Hodges

February 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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