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Oxford Professor wins age discrimination claim

A former physics professor at Oxford University has won his claims of age discrimination and unfair dismissal after he was forced to retire following his 68th birthday.

The University’s employer-justified retirement age (EJRA), in place since 2011, requires academics to retire before they turn 69, with the justification that it allows for younger and more diverse academics to progress.

Despite his position as Head of Department and his involvement in several large-scale projects, the professor’s application to renew his contract for three years was rejected in 2017.

He presented evidence to the Tribunal that as a result of the EJRA, only 2-4% more vacancies had been created.

A former physics professor at Oxford University has won his claims of age discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The Tribunal found that the professor had been unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of age and that his dismissal was unfair. They held the measure was disproportionate given both the “trivial” number of vacancies created and the measure’s discriminatory impact, and accordingly it had not been justified. The University is considering an appeal.

This is the second case against Oxford University’s compulsory retirement age, following on from the unsuccessful claim by an English professor in May 2019. This latest ruling by the Tribunal on Oxford’s EJRA is likely to impact on his appeal later this year.

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