Dismissal of 62-Year Old Teacher Did Not Constitute Discrimination
In a decision made earlier this year, the Board of Equal Treatment established that the dismissal of a 62-year old teacher did not constitute discrimination on the grounds of age. The board found it proven that the teacher''s competence profile could best be dispensed with in connection with the educational institution''s forward-looking need to cover lessons with a reduced number of teachers.
In the relevant case, the Board of Equal Treatment was to consider whether an educational institution, which had dismissed a 62-year old teacher in connection with cutbacks, had subjected the teacher to discrimination on the grounds of age. At the time of the dismissal, four other teachers besides the 62-year old teacher were employed, including a significantly younger colleague who was on probation and had a considerably lower seniority.
The Board of Equal Treatment pointed out that there was a presumption that the teacher''s age was included in the assessment of whether or not to dismiss the teacher, due to the fact that the manager, in connection with the teacher having attempted to take early retirement, had stated to the senior shop steward that there was more future in another colleague (who was younger).
However, the Board of Equal Treatment found it proven that, at the time of the dismissal, the younger colleague and the other employees, to a higher extent that the dismissed teacher, possessed the relevant competencies, including specific professionally relevant IT skills. Consequently, the board found in favour of the educational institution.
The decision shows that it is possible for an employer to prove that a dismissal is not contrary to the prohibition against age discrimination if, in a round of layoffs, it can be proven that the other employees possess crucial competencies that are relevant to the position. It is important to note that such proof must be precise and well-documented in writing, especially in connection with cases before the Board of Equal Treatment, where cases are decided on a written basis.
Plesner represented the educational institution before the Board of Equal Treatment.
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