Age Discrimination: Considering retirement requests
In Ayodele v Compass Group plc, an Employment Tribunal has found that a request to work beyond the age of 65 years (the Default Retirement Age) must be considered genuinely.
Although Mr Ayodele was invited to a meeting and an appeal to discuss his request (as required under the Age Discrimination Regulations), he was told on both occasions that it was Compass's policy to retire people at 65 and there could be no exception to this. The ET held that Mr Ayodele’s subsequent dismissal was unfair and found that Compass had not complied with the spirit of the legislation and its procedures were a charade. Mr Ayodele was awarded two years’ loss of earnings.
Employers may be tempted to try and “retire” older members of staff prior to the removal of the Default Retirement Age next year and operate a blanket policy of not allowing any members of staff to remain in employment.
Whilst this case is only a first instance judgment and could well be appealed, it would suggest that this type of policy will put employers at risk of unfair dismissal claims. Of course in this case, the company was particularly unwise to state openly that the request was pointless given their policy.
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