Sunday 24 February 2019

Solicitor must pay €25,680 to woman who was 'compulsorily retired' at 67

A solicitor has been ordered to pay €25,680 to a 68-year-old woman after she was ‘compulsorily retired’. (stock photo)
A solicitor has been ordered to pay €25,680 to a 68-year-old woman after she was ‘compulsorily retired’. (stock photo)

Gordon Deegan

A solicitor has been ordered to pay €25,680 to a 68-year-old woman after she was 'compulsorily retired'.

Workplace Relations Commission adjudication officer Emile Daly found the main reason for the firm dismissing their legal secretary of 40 years' service was because she was then 67.

"There are 70- and 80-year-olds within the labour force, who are more productive, able and capable of change than some 20-year-olds," Ms Daly said. "Terminating someone's employment on the basis of age is discriminatory which, unless it is objectively justified, is unlawful."

Ms Daly said the woman was not dismissed for poor performance. She awarded €24,000 for the age-based dismissal, €840 for unpaid holiday pay and €840 for not being provided her terms and conditions. She was dismissed on January 4, 2018 - two years after the practice was transferred to a new solicitor.

In the letter explaining the dismissal, the solicitor told the woman: "We all have to retire at some stage. For many decades, it has been standard practice for people to retire from employment at the age of 65. Many people retire before that age."

The letter went on: "In your case, you did not indicate a desire to retire at age 65. I decided to keep you on until you could receive your pension."

Irish Independent

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