Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do you know? Forced retirement is a no-no

It’s still a fairly popular misnomer that businesses can force employees to retire at a certain age. For example, last week Law.com reported on a verdict against a Connecticut pharmaceutical company that forced its Chief Patent Counsel to retire at age 65.

With the exception of a few limited circumstances, mandatory retirement ages are about as close to a slam dunk case of illegal age discrimination you can find. The exceptions permit – but do not require – mandatory retirement:

  • at age 65 of executives or other employees in high, policy-making positions.
  • at age 55 for publicly employed firefighters and law enforcement officers.

Forcing an employee out is the same as requiring an employee to require. While lessening duties and responsibilities, demotions, and reductions in pay could cause an older employee to retire, it could also cause that same employee to claim a constructive discharge. However, there is no law that says that an older employee does not have to meet the same legitimate expectations of the job as any other employee. If an older worker is not performing as needed or required, document and treat as you would any other employee.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or jth@kjk.com.