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Blog  »  May 2017  »  Forced to retire at 65? I don’t think so - Blog
11
May 17

Posted by
Lauren Conway

Forced to retire at 65? I don’t think so

John Glavey V Connaught Airport Development Co Ltd

A court recently fined Connaught Airport Development Co Ltd €6,500 for the unfair dismissal of Mr. Glavey, a veteran barman who was forced to retire from his role as a senior bartender at 65 years of age. Mr. Glavey had been working in the bar at West Airport Knock since 1991. Although the airport did not have a policy on retirement age, they said that it was custom for all employees to retire at 65.
Mr. Glavey argued that not only was there no retirement age stated in his contract of employment but with the state pension at 66 years there is a requirement on him up to 66 years to be available for work. At the age of 65, Mr. Glavey was fit and well and had no difficulty carrying out the duties of his job. It was heard that Mr. Glavey had been one of few employees that held a 39 hour per week contract as opposed to new recruits on temporary/part-time contracts.

Finding

The Labour Court found that as the airport firm had ample opportunity to inform Mr. Glavey of a requirement that he retire at age 65 he was unfairly dismissed by reason of his age and awarded him €6,500.

Learning Points

As an employer, you must ensure that if you do have a compulsory retirement age in your contracts that you have a legitimate reason, and can objectively justify your retirement age. In the past courts have ruled reasons such as health and safety or security as objective reasons; however, what will be acceptable reasons will differ from company to company. Should you require your company to have a retirement age, be sure to re-assess your reasons and have clear, sensible explanations for doing so.