Pensioner sues over dismissal

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The Independent Online
A PENSIONER'S claim for unfair dismissal could herald a wave of litigation, forcing the Government to abolish the statutory age for retirement, lawyers said yesterday. John Rutherford, 67, has won the right to go to an employment tribunal despite current legislation banning people over 65 from claiming unfair dismissal or redundancy pay.

At a preliminary hearing, the tribunal, in Stratford, east London, ruled that the ban was sexually discriminatory and in breach of EU law. Lawyers for Mr Rutherford, who was made redundant from his job as a pattern cutter, said the fact that more men than women were in work after 65 gave rise to indirect discrimination.

The case of Mr Rutherford, of Rainham, Essex, who lost his job at Harvest Town Circle, a womenswear manufacturer, follows that of a 69-year-old man who brought a claim for unfair dismissal last year.

Although the tribunal found in his favour he died before the case reached the Employment Appeal Tribunal. His estate is continuing with the action, which has been postponed until a European case, dealing with similar issues, reaches a judgment.

If the cases are upheld,British law could follow that in the United States, where there is no statutory retirement age or laws to bar older people from bringing claims of unfair dismissal.