Workers who have come under pressure to retire before the age of 65 could be entitled to claim £45 million in compensation from their employers.
Research by AXA shows that one in five people who retired before the age of 65 did so under pressure from their employer. With the average age-related discrimination claim currently at around £8,679, AXA says the collective compensation due to retirees forced out of their jobs could be as much as £45 million.
Steve Folkard, head of pensions and savings policy at AXA, says: “Despite legislation making it unlawful to discriminate against workers on the grounds of age, our study clearly shows that some employees are still being coerced into early retirement - meaning employers could be leaving themselves dangerously exposed to litigation.”
Your legal rights
If you or someone you know is coming up to retirement then make sure you are aware of workers' legal rights.
On 1 October 2006 the government introduced legal protection against age discrimination. This means that employers cannot deny a job, training or promotion to someone on the basis of their age. The law applies to all private and public employers and cover employees of any age.
When it comes to retirement, employers have the right to retire people when they reach 65 without having to provide justification. However, they can only retire people below the age of 65 if they can show that having a lower retirement age is “appropriate and necessary”.
If a company does decide to retire someone aged over 65 then they must give them between six and 12 months' written notice. Should the worker request to continue working beyond the compulsory retirement age then their employer must consider this and provide a response - although they do not have to give reasons for their decision. Workers do, however, have the right to appeal this.
AXA says that retirees forced out of work before the age of 65 could have a case for compensation. Equally, workers aged over 65 who were not given the option to appeal against complusory retirement or were not propertly informed of their retirement date might be entitled to make a claim.
If you think you have been discriminated against on the basis of your age then you should seek legal advice.
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