Anyone with even a passing interest in sport, business or man-management will be aware Sir Alex Ferguson has announced his retirement from football management. Prior to his retirement Sir Alex had been at the helm of Manchester United since 1986, leading the club through its strongest period of domestic and European success. Sir Alex has been in situ for so long, any football fan under the age of 26 will have lived their whole life knowing only 1 Manchester United manager.
The decision to retire came as a surprise to many as it had been anticipated an announcement would be made long in advance of a final date for working. It is almost without question that Sir Alex has decided to step down rather than been required to retire but what is the legal position?
As it stands the position is an employer cannot dismiss an employee on the grounds of retirement unless the employer can show the decision is ‘objectively justified’. Had Sir Alex been performing poorly prior to retirement then his performance would have been the catalyst for the termination of his employment but his league success continued into 2013 and given the level of success he has brought to the club, it would have been difficult if not impossible for the Manchester United board to show he was under-performing.
Given the present position in law, if the Manchester United board felt they wanted a change of management then termination on the grounds of retirement would have left them exposed to a significant risk of a Tribunal claim being presented arising out of that dismissal. The same applies across England and Wales and is the source of many enquiries with this firm. If you would like to discuss an employee’s position with your company, or if you are an employee who is concerned about the legislation in relation to retirement, contact our employment law team who will be happy to guide you through the law and provide details of any options you may have for your employment position.
Paul is our Managing Director in Leicester. All of our staff in Leicester are experts in their fields and dedicated to quality client care. If you would like to find out more about our solicitors in Leicester please contact us.
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