Network - Winter 2010 - (Page 9)

O Legal Source The Legalities of Mandatory Retirement By Stuart E. Rudner A cross Canada, mandatory retirement has effectively been abolished. While there are groups of employees that may still be subject to such regulations, including those in circumstances where the employer can show a bona fide occupational requirement that would justify mandatory retirement, the vast majority of Canadians are free to work until they decide to retire. While this is a positive step for human rights and is consistent with the changing demographics of our society, it can create a number of issues for employers that did not previously exist. Not long ago, most organizations had a policy, either explicit or informal, that had employees retiring around their 65th birthday. As a result, many employers developed a laissez-faire attitude when it came to the performance of senior employees in the twilight years of their career. While employers may have noticed a slowdown in their productivity, or more mistakes than they used to commit, the organization would effectively turn a blind eye to these shortcomings, tolerating them for a relatively brief period of time in order to allow the employee to retire with dignity. Unfortunately, employers can no longer count on mandatory retirement to remove an underperforming employee from the workplace. They will have to address the situation directly. Employers should adopt human resources practices that, while becoming more widespread, are not yet as prevalent as they should be. These are practices that are beneficial, if not crucial, in managing all employees and not only those that are more senior. Employers should ensure that there is an ongoing dialogue between the employees and their supervisors/managers in which their work performance is discussed routinely, in addition to regularly scheduled formal evaluations. Any concerns or deficiencies should be documented and addressed, with specific goals and timelines set. A performance improvement plan can be in place if appropriate. As a side note, it is readily apparent to me, as counsel, that most managers are reluctant to make any negative comments about their employees. As a result, employees coast along with positive reviews despite ongoing, O 9 NETWORK O Winter 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Winter 2010

Network - Winter 2010
HRIA President’s Message
HRIA Board of Directors
The Legalities of Mandatory Retirement
Unwanted Early Retirement
Baby Boom or Bust Strategies for Dealing With a Rapidly Aging Workforce
Retirement: Private Savings Plan Contributions Decreasing
Baby Boomer Steps
Retirement Is About More Than Just Money
What‘s Happening Here? HR’s Evolving Role in Dealing With Different Generations
Retirees Need a Game Plan
The HR Office
Index of Advertisers

Network - Winter 2010