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€85,000 award for nurse told to retire at 66 a warning to all employers, says legal expert

‘The days of someone who has got to 65 and is going to retire have well and truly ceased.”

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The WRC adjudicator said the award was “proportionate” in circumstances where the nursing home made no effort to comply with the Employment Equality Acts.

The WRC adjudicator said the award was “proportionate” in circumstances where the nursing home made no effort to comply with the Employment Equality Acts.

The WRC adjudicator said the award was “proportionate” in circumstances where the nursing home made no effort to comply with the Employment Equality Acts.

A ruling that a nursing home must pay €85,000 compensation to a senior staff nurse for discrimination, after ‘retiring’ her at the age of 66 has been described as “a significant warning to employers”.

Employment law expert Richard Grogan was commenting after Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) adjudicator Aideen Collard ordered the payout in the age discrimination case.

Ms Collard said that the award was “proportionate” in circumstances where the nursing home made no effort to comply with the Employment Equality Acts.

Ms Collard said the senior staff nurse had “suffered stress and indignity” along with 11 months’ loss of earnings and denial of statutory redundancy and an ex-gratia payment.

Ms Collard stated that on July 27, 2018, the senior nurse was informed by letter by her employer that she would retire compulsorily October 31, 2018, upon reaching her 65th birthday. From then, she said, “her employment was tainted with illegality and discrimination on the ground of age”.

The nursing home granted the senior nurse a one- year extension – but Ms Collard stated that when the senior nurse requested a further extension in writing, there was no meaningful engagement by the nursing home.

Ms Collard said: “Again, no rationale was provided to show that her compulsory retirement was objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim and was appropriate and necessary to achieve that aim.”

Ms Collard stated that she fully accepted the nurse’s evidence that there was ample work available, particularly as the nursing home was recruiting agents and non-European Economic Area (EEA) staff at the time of her dismissal, and with an exemplary work record, she was entirely capable of doing the work required.

The nursing home is subject to a High Court winding-up order and the appointed liquidator attended the WRC hearing in its place.

However, no evidence was proffered in rebuttal of the senior nurse’s complaint.

Dublin-based solicitor Richard Grogan, who was not involved in the case, said it serves as a significant warning to employers of the need to comply with Employment Equality legislation concerning age discrimination.

He said: “The days of someone who has got to 65 and is going to retire have well and truly ceased.”

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