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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I was 65 in July 11 my employer agreed for me to continue

Resolved Question:

I was 65 in July 11
my employer agreed for me to continue working until June 13 and then terminated my employment although I intended to continue.
As I was 65 just before age discrimination law am I not entitled to compensation.
SG
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. On what grounds was your employment terminated?

Customer:

owner decided to change strategy .someone else was employed

Ben Jones :

Were you given notice of termination?

Customer:

yes about 6 weeks then I left by choice.

Customer:

I was there 30 years

Ben Jones :

So someone just took over your job?

Customer:

More or less yes but with different skills

Ben Jones :

Do you think your age had anything to do with it?

Customer:

I think it was a good excuse for him to change things so he retired me

Ben Jones :

Retiring an employee because they have reached the retirement age of 65, or any other age for that matter, is now unlawful. The Default Retirement Age was abolished in April 2011 and since then employers have been unable to forcefully retire employees due to their age.


 


So whilst employers can no longer regard 65 as the "safe" age at which to retire employees, they will instead have to show objective justification for dismissing by reason of retirement. Whether employers keep fixed retirement ages or decide when to retire people on a case-by-case basis, they will have to objectively justify the decision to retire. This will require identifying a legitimate aim being pursued and showing that the means used to pursue it are proportionate


 


What reasons would qualify as being objectively legitimate will very much depend on the circumstances and will evolve through case law with time, but as an example they could include:



  • Workforce planning

  • Promoting the recruitment and retention of younger employees

  • Contributing to a pleasant workplace and protecting the dignity of older workforce by not requiring them to undergo performance management procedures

  • Protecting against incompetence

  • Ensuring a high quality of service

  • Having an age-balanced workforce, as this can promote the exchange of experience and innovation, and therefore contribute to the quality of the work

  • Avoiding adverse impact on pension and benefits, that is, the increased cost of extending such benefits to older workers


 


So whilst dismissal purely because an employee has reached a certain age is no longer possible, there are still age-related reasons which an employer can use to dismiss an employee, provided they are considered reasonable in the circumstances. If you were dismissed for any reason than redundancy, then you will only be entitled to your contractual notice period (it can’t be less than 12 weeks in your case) and any accrued holidays. There is no additional payment for retirement, there never has been, even before 2011. It is only in redundancy situations that you would have received a redundancy payment on top of your notice.


 

Customer:

I guess he would use any one of the 7 points highlighted then .

Ben Jones :

He still needs to be able to justify these, it is no good just piking one and saying it applies

Customer:

on balance then do you think I should get a local lawyer to pursue.

Ben Jones :

well I have very little information as to what reasons he actually used and whether there is anything to suggest he may have had a valid reason. However, I have just seen a detail that may affect your rights - when did you actually leave?

Customer:

I left in June 13

Ben Jones :

I see then you will be too late to make any claim anyway - unfair dismissal and discrimination claims must be made within 3 months. A claim for redundancy payment must be made within 6 months - in any event you are now too late to pursue the matter and would be statute barred from doing so

Customer:

ok I was thinking that might be the case thanks anyway Ben.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome

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