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Website URL : http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4620

Retiring from work

Dismissal

Unless it can be objectively justified it is not permissible to dismiss someone on the grounds of retirement. Older workers can voluntarily retire at a time they choose and draw any occupational pension they are entitled to. Employers cannot force employees to retire or set a retirement age unless it can be objectively justified, for example posts in the emergency service that requires a significant level of physical fitness.

Work place discussions

Whatever the age of an employee, discussing their future aims and aspirations can help an employer to identify their training or development needs and provide an opportunity to discuss their future work requirements.

For all employees these discussions may involve the question of where they see themselves in the next few years and how they view their contribution to the organisation. A useful exercise is to ask open questions regarding an employee's aims and plans for the short, medium and long term. Some employers may find it useful to hold these discussions as part of their formal appraisal processes.

The outcome of any workplace discussions should be recorded and held for as long as there is a business need for doing so. It would be good practice to give a copy to the employee.

Poor performance

If an employee is performing poorly the employer should discuss this with them to establish a cause. Failure to address any poor performance with an employee because there is an expectation they will retire soon may be discriminatory. Employers should establish a reason for poor performance, setting improvement periods and agreeing what training and development would help the employee meet the business expectation.

If levels are not improved and an employer has followed the company's performance procedure they then may decide to dismiss the employee on capability grounds.