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Discriminatory Dismissal – Mix Up in Retirement Ages

The case of Frank Lennon v Worldwide Logistics Limited ADJ00023429 published by the Workplace Relations Commission in January, confirms again that an employer must tread very carefully when requesting an employee to retire simply because the employee has reached a certain age. This can amount to discriminatory dismissal on the grounds of age.

In this case the employee stated that he was discriminated against on the basis of his age when he alleged he was forcefully retired on the basis of age in a letter dated 30 November stating that in accordance with the company’s policy, as he was turning 68 he had to retire.  He informed the company he had already reached 68 and subsequently received a further letter stating that in accordance with their policy, he had to retire as he was turning 69.

The company subsequently stated that there was no established retirement date as no one had retired before and that no policy was circulated giving prior notice to the employee that the respondent had a retirement policy.


The Workplace Relations Commission awarded the complainant compensation of €13,156 or equivalent to 26 weeks’ pay on the basis that there was no justification for the decision taken and it was established that the termination was solely age related.

Case Learning Point

Employers cannot simply require an employee to retire because they have reached a certain age unless there is objective justification to do so such as “intergenerational fairness”. By compelling or forcing an employee to resign without justification, the employer may face a claim of discriminatory dismissal.

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