Employment tribunal judgment - compulsory retirement

The employment tribunal has handed down its judgment in Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes.

03 June 2013

The employment tribunal has handed down its judgment in Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes. If you attend our Hot Topics sessions you’ll be familiar with Mr Seldon, a partner in a law firm, who brought a claim for age discrimination when, in accordance with the partnership deed, he was forced to retire at 65.

The case went to the Supreme Court last year which held that the law firm had identified legitimate aims (staff retention, workforce planning and dignity) which could potentially justify the compulsory retirement of a partner at 65. The case was remitted to the employment tribunal to consider whether the firm’s chosen retirement age was a proportionate means of achieving the aims identified. This week the employment tribunal, finding in favour of the law firm, decided that the treatment was proportionate.

However, this finding does not give employers carte blanche to dismiss employees at the age of 65. The decision to dismiss Mr Seldon was taken in 2006 and the Tribunal conceded that its findings may have been different if based on facts arising today, given that the default retirement age has now been abolished. Employers should, therefore, continue to exercise caution before compulsorily retiring an employee.  

If you would like any further information or would like advice on employment law issues, please contact Roger Bull.

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Roger Bull

Roger Bull Managing Partner

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