The PSI Blog

Supreme Court ruling muddles issues of age and performance
Deborah Smeaton

In April, a UK Supreme Court ruling dismissed an appeal by a solicitor who was told to retire by a City law firm just after his sixty-fifth birthday (he was dismissed before the default retirement age was abolished in October). The decision was based on the grounds that the dismissal was consistent with the firms 'succession policy', which ensures opportunities for younger staff are clear and predictable. More controversially, the decision also rests on the assumption that age and performance are linked and that imposing a default retirement age of 65 reduces the need to dismiss partners for poor performance. Yet good-practice employers do not conflate these issues and recognise that performance concerns are not related to age and should not be muddled with retirement considerations.

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