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Oxford professor forced to retire at 69 wins age discrimination claim

An Oxford University professor forced to retire before his 70th birthday because of the university’s employer justified retirement age policy (EJRA) was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against, an employment tribunal ruled.

The Reading Employment Tribunal found that Oxford University acted unlawfully by dismissing Professor Paul Ewart, who was head of atomic and laser physics at Oxford’s Clarendon Laboratory, because of his age. At the time of his dismissal in September 2017, Ewart was 69.

The tribunal found the EJRA, introduced in 2011 in a bid to bring younger and more diverse staff into the university, had only created a “trivial” number of new opportunities and so forcing older staff to retire was not a “proportionate” method for achieving the policy’s stated aims.

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