Barman awarded €6,500 over forced retirement at airport

Court finds company discriminated against man by making him stop working at 65

John Glavey had worked at Ireland West Airport Knock as a senior bartender since 1991. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

John Glavey had worked at Ireland West Airport Knock as a senior bartender since 1991. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The company that operates Knock airport has been ordered to pay €6,500 in a discrimination case to a veteran barman at the airport.

This follows the Labour Court finding that the firm, Connaught Airport Development Co Ltd, discriminated against John Glavey on age grounds when forcing him to retire at the age of 65.

Mr Glavey had worked at the airport as a senior bartender since 1991.

On behalf of Mr Glavey, Martina Weir of Siptu told the hearing that Mr Glavey was fit and well and had no difficulty carrying out the duties associated with his job.

Ms Weir pointed out that the Government has increased the age for receipt of the State pension to 66 years and as a result there is a requirement on those between 65 and 66 years to be available for work.

“Therefore there can be no justifiable objective reason for the airport firm’s decision to place Mr Glavey in such a position, and no legitimate aim or objective, can be served which could not be achieved by allowing Mr Glavey to remain until he reaches 66 years,” she said.

Mr Weir also argued that Mr Glavey’s contract of employment did not contain a retirement age. She also pointed out that Mr Glavey was one of a few staff who held a 39-hour per week contract of employment, whereas new recruits were on temporary and/or part-time contracts.

‘Cohesion’

In response, Mary Fay on behalf of the airport stated that the business “strives for cohesion throughout the workforce and has one universal retirement age for all staff”.

Human resources manager at the airport, Eoin Flanagan, said that while the airport did not have a policy on retirement age, the custom and practice had been that all employees retire at 65.

In its ruling, the Labour Court ruled that it cannot accept that Mr Glavey had knowledge of a retirement age of 65 years.

The court stated that the airport firm had ample opportunity to inform Mr Glavey of a requirement that he retire at age 65.

The court found that Mr Glavey was dismissed by reason of his age, and that this dismissal constituted an act of discrimination and awarded him €6,500.