The Arts Council of Northern Ireland recently paid out £12,000 to their own Chief Executive to settle her claims of age discrimination and victimisation without admission of liability.
The post-holder had been in situ since 2000. In January 2017, she applied for flexible retirement – that is, to reduce her working week from five days to four with effect from April 2017.
The Arts Council, rather than address this request, enquired with the post-holder, on several occasions, as to her retirement plans.
This gave rise to gossip within the organisation which the post-holder felt undermined her position and prompted her to engage the internal grievance procedures. Discrimination proceedings were also lodged.
An internal panel upheld the grievance and the post-holder commenced her flexible retirement in September 2017.
A spokesman for the Equality Commission said:
In settling the case, the Arts Council has acknowledged and regrets the
hurt and injury to feelings [and] …has reaffirmed its commitment to the
principle of equality of opportunity in employment…
This settlement is not ground-breaking, or at least it shouldn’t be: the default retirement age having been done away with in 2011.
What steps has your business taken to insulate itself against claims like this one?