In an August, 2003 arbitration, the forced retirement of four employees was set aside on the basis that the employer’s mandatory retirement policy was arbitrary, discriminatory, unreasonable and was never written down or communicated to the union and the employees.
The employer’s policy was found to be discriminatory because employees were being treated unequally in the enforcement of the policy. The employer had a practice of allowing employees to retire at various points between their 65th and 66th birthdays. The arbitrator’s finding of arbitrariness was based on the fact that the employer had no valid explanation for the uneven manner in which the policy was applied.
This decision underscores the importance of ensuring that mandatory retirement policies are clearly defined, well communicated and consistently applied.
(Click here to see judgment).