Employee Forced Retirement*

Employee Forced Retirement

In EDA1916 being the case of Louth County Council and Mary Clarke the Labour Court has taken the time to set out the relevant legislation being Sections 6, 8 and 34 of the Act along with article 6 of Council Directive 2000/78/EC.

This case the respondent relied on the retirement age which existed at the time the employee commenced work but which was later changed for the same category of workers based solely on the date they commenced employment.

The court stated that the respondent employer had not set out grounds that objectively justify the selection of that age for this category of staff.

Case ADJ9096 which issued on the 17th May has a lengthy review of the law. The AO in this case referred to Section 6 of the Act and recital 14 of the Directive.

The AO quoted the case of Earagail Eish Teoranta –v- Richard Lett EDA1513 where the Labour Court held that as a matter of general principal, a termination of employment by way of retirement should be distinguished from a dismissal on grounds of age. A retirement occurs where the employment comes to an end pursuant to a condition of employment which limits employees tenure to the point at which they attain a specified age. It held that a term of employment regarding a retirement age, within the provisions of Section 34 (4) of the Act can be provided in an employee’s condition of employment either expressly or by implication.

The AO quoted the case of Donnellan –v- Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform IAC467 which held that where an employee is forced to retire at a particular age it may give rise to a prima facia case of discrimination within the meaning of article two. The AO in this case held that the employee did not suddenly find out that a retirement age applied to him. The AO held that there was a custom in practice as well as knowledge acquired at a training day that there were various retirement age which did not exceed the age of 66 with the exception of new entrants which did not apply to the particular employee. The AO held that there had been no discrimination.

These cases are complex to say the least. There is the issue then which sometimes needs to be addressed of justification.

*Before acting or refraining from acting on anything in this guide, legal advice should be sought from a solicitor.

**In contentious cases, a solicitor may not charge fees or expenses as a portion or percentage of any award of settlement.

Richard Grogan

Author Richard Grogan

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