The default retirement age of 65 has been repealed, so you can generally now work for as long as you want to and are able.
If your employer tries to force you to retire, it is likely to be age discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 and unfair dismissal. It is rare, but your employer may be able to prove your retirement was ‘objectively justified’. They will need to show that a legitimate aim was being pursued and that your retirement was a proportionate way to achieve it.
It is not difficult for employers to show their aim was legitimate – such as wanting to promote diversity and encouraging a younger workforce – but it is more difficult for them to prove that a compulsory retirement age is a proportionate way of achieving that aim.
Can my employer ask me if I am planning to retire?
Not directly, but asking in a general way about your future aims and aspirations can help them identify training or development needs. These discussions may involve asking where you see yourself in the next few years and how you view their contribution to the organisation.
Any direct question such as “are you planning to retire in the near future” should be avoided. They are loaded with inferences and can be upsetting to hear. If you have already indicated you are planning to retire then there is no problem with your employer talking to you about the date of your retirement and any working arrangements leading up to it.
Can I change my mind about retirement?
If you have given formal notice of your intention to retire on a certain date, your employer isn’t obliged to accept your change of mind. However, if it was just a general discussion about planning to retire, you can change your mind before formal notice is given.
What compensation am I entitled to for discrimination?
You ought to receive something to reflect how long you have been employed there if you have been unfairly dismissed and also an award to reflect how long you might be out of work for. Tribunals accept it is more difficult for an older job seeker to find work than someone say, in their thirties. Unlike normal unfair dismissal, there is no maximum amount of compensation a Tribunal can award you.
In addition to damages for any losses you have suffered – such as wages or pension – compensation normally includes an award for injury to feelings. Tribunals are guided in what to award:
- Lower band (less serious cases): £900 to £9,000
- Middle band: £9,000 to £27,000
- Upper band (the most serious cases): £27,000 to £45,000
In exceptional cases, the award will be over £45,000
You only have a limited amount of time to take action to preserve your employment rights – usually just three months (less one day) from the date your employment ended or the last act of age discrimination.
What do I do now?
This is where we come in. Employment law is all we do.
Talk to us and we will explain your options. You might want to stay in work, have a phased reduction to your hours or duties until you are ready to go, or if you have been dismissed – we can help you to enforce your employment rights.
It can often feel like your employer holds all the power. They will likely have experienced HR professionals or a solicitor working in the background. That’s why you need the best support and advice available. You need a specialist employment lawyer – one who will push for the best outcome for you.
We understand how it feels. We have helped hundreds of employees and because we act for businesses too, we know the tactics you’re likely to face from your employer. We know every trick in the book.
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