Woman told to retire at 60 wins pounds 17,000

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The Independent Online
A WOMAN who worked for a London charity has won pounds 17,000 compensation for being forced to retire before her male colleagues, writes Barrie Clement.

Mary Smith, a personal assistant to the chief administrator of the Royal Scottish Corporation, was made to leave at the age of 60.

She alleged unlawful sex discrimination because men were allowed to continue working for the charity until the age of 65.

The union, Manufacturing Science Finance, which backed her case, said the corporation sought to justify its decision by claiming that it had a policy of retirement at 60 for secretarial staff, while other employees could leave at 65.

However, Mrs Smith pointed out that of the 15 staff employed by the charity, all the men retired at 65 and all the women were made to retire at 60.

The claim, which could set an important precedent, was settled out of court and there was no admission of liability.

This is thought to be the first case dealt with in the industrial tribunal system since the Court of Appeal blocked compensation in a case involving Marion Bullock who was employed by a school. She was unsuccessful because her employer had had genuine difficulties in recruiting certain staff which the court said justified allowing a later retirement age.