Developing objective screening criteria may lessen the chances
of biased recruitment and potential complaints of age discrimina-tion.
To protect against such complaints, employers should keep
records related to job competition for at least one year.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING
If concerns regarding an employee’s declining performance exist,
a universal and objective performance review ought to be under-taken.
To ensure transparency of decision-making, constructive
criticism and warnings should be given when necessary, and per-formance
issues should be clearly documented.
Employers should also assess whether declining performance
is linked to disability – if this link exists, termination is not the
immediate answer. Employers must remember that under human
rights legislation, they have a duty to accommodate to the point of
undue hardship. Accommodation strategies may include flexible
hours and/or schedules, job sharing, short- or fixed-term con-tracts,
phased retirement, a lateral move to a better fitted position
or training and retraining.
Regarding training, standard and universal training programs
may not satisfy the needs of all workers. Consideration should be
given to developing learning plans with employees, and in some
cases, it may be appropriate to assist older workers to acquire the
skills they need to adapt to new workplace practices and chang-ing
In 2006, Ontario eliminated mandatory retirement, and in 2012
it was eliminated for federal employees. This means that an em-ployee
may continue to work regardless of their age, and their
retirement must be voluntary.
There are few instances, however, where mandatory retirement
may be permissible – that being, where age is considered a bona
fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) due to the nature of the
position. An example is mandatory retirement imposed on fire-fighters
– which is justified by concerns regarding cardiac health.
For such to be permitted, the employer must show 1) that man-datory
retirement was adopted in good faith; 2) mandatory
retirement is rationally connected to the nature of the work; and
3) the employee cannot be accommodated without undue hard-ship.
Using age as a BFOQ is an onerous standard and requires
evidence of undue hardship as it relates to health and safety or op-erational
requirements. Employers should be cautious if intending
to impose such restrictions.
Employers who wish to encourage employees to retire are not
barred from doing so, as long as what is being offered is a voluntary
incentive, and it is done in the absence of direct or implicit coercion
or pressure. An employee cannot be made to feel as though they are
DURING THE RECRUITMENT
PROCESS, ENSURING THAT
STEREOTYPES AND BIASES
RELATING TO AGE DO NOT PLAY
A ROLE IN THE CANDIDATE’S
CHANCES OF SUCCESS IS VITAL.
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com
18 ❚ SEPTEMBER 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL