Retirement, redundancy and unfair dismissal – what to expect as an older employee


By Curtis Brown

Older employees that come through Caven often regard their situation as in jeopardy during cut backs or organisational change.

A particular client of mine who was nearing the age of 65, the previously set default retirement age, felt their employer was trying to marginalise their role in anticipation of a transitional period for the company. The move was viewed as a pre-cursor to more changes to the client’s role, including becoming redundant. However, the client questioned if they were actually being unfairly dismissed as they made plans for a replacement.

On the other hand, a client who was specifically told they were being dismissed legitimately due to their age, realised that they were not being replaced making the role redundant. It is a thin line between being treated unfairly and the employer attempting to remain competitive. This line is being stretched everyday by proposals to increase the retirement age as people struggle to hold on to their jobs.

Employers may try various routes to shed staff at a critical stage in their lives.  There are times when pressure from employers leaves workers with no choice but to walk away from their jobs and redundancy packages. The increase in enquiries by over employee over 50 years of age about constructive dismissal and/or unfair dismissal reflects the growing concern. Many solicitors are arguing age discrimination cases at an Employment Tribunal.

In a  nationwide study in June 2011 from Key Retirement Solutions: “More than three out of four (77%) over-50s made redundant in the past three years took a pay cut to get back into full-time employment, with 45% saying they had to take a “considerably lower” salary. Around 51% have to take a completely different role or work in a new sector to get back into employment.”

If you feel you have questions about your working relationship as you near retirement age and are not sure of your rights, Caven can put you in touch with a specialist employment law solicitor. Please call 08001 221 2299 or fill out the web-form opposite.

Curtis Brown is one of Caven’s most experienced and knowledgeable telephone advisors.

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