Copyright Moore Barlow LLP (Moore Blatch and Barlow Robbins merged May 2020)

Is it unlawful to compulsary retire professors?

The Employment Tribunal (ET) has ruled that it is not unlawful to compulsory retire professors,
if their retirement helps to boost diversity.

A senior professor, who had worked at Oxford University for three decades, was required to retire at 67 under the University’s Employer- Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) policy. As the professor wanted to continue working, he unsuccessfully re-applied for his job. The EJRA policy stated that academics could only work beyond the age of 67 in “exceptional circumstances”.

The professor lodged a claim against the University on the grounds of age discrimination and unfair dismissal – both of which were unsuccessful. Finding the University’s EJRA policy not to be discriminatory, the ET noted that it was time to open up senior positions to a more diverse group of academics such as women, the younger generation, people with disabilities, and those from different racial backgrounds.

If you are considering introducing a compulsory retirement age and would like expert advice as to whether your policy is legally compliant, please do get in touch.