The DTI’s appeal against a
landmark tribunal ruling, giving employment rights to older workers, was heard
last week, with a decision expected in four to six weeks.
The tribunal decision, made last
year, gives thousands of workers aged over 65 the right to claim for unfair
dismissal and redundancy payments.
John Rutherford and Samuel
Bentley won their claims for indirect sexual discrimination after they were
dismissed from their jobs in the clothing industry, on the grounds that they
were over 65.
Their legal teams argued that
there are far more working men over the age of 65 compared to women, and
therefore the cut-off point of 65 years discriminates against men.
But the DTI appealed. In an
earlier statement, the DTI said: “We believe this… decision, which related to
sex, not age, discrimination, should be overturned.”
Age discrimination laws are due
to be introduced in 2006.
Speaking before the hearing,
John Rutherford said he was baffled when he lost his job as a pattern room
manager for Harvest Town Circle
“If you lose a job you think
‘bloody hell, what is going on?’,” he told Personnel Today.
Rutherford was 68 when his manager said: “You are past retirement
age, I think it is best you go.”
But he was happy with the job
and his manager had never expressed concerns over his work.
said that when he was hired, he had pointed out that he was already 65. The
manager replied that age wasn’t an issue, as long as the job was done.