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University Of Otago High Court Judgment Welcomed

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Human Rights Commission Welcomes University Of Otago High Court Judgment

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed the outcome of the High Court declaratory judgment proceedings initiated by the University of Otago.

A large number of employees at the University of Otago currently have employment contracts which include a clause requiring them to retire at the age of 65.

The issues raised by these proceedings were of considerable public interest and will also affect a large number of other employees.

Proceedings Commissioner Chris Lawrence said: "This case raised the question of whether a compulsory retirement clause in the employment contracts was valid. The Human Rights Act 1993 abolishes compulsory retirement but there are some exceptions".

"The question in this case was whether those exceptions applied to the university contracts. The court has ruled against the university's case that the retirement clause was valid," Mr Lawrence said.

"This is a milestone on the journey towards the abolition of compulsory retirement ages."

Lawrence added: "Too many older New Zealanders are stamped with a `use-by date' and employers need to learn to focus on the abilities of their employees, not their age".

Ends

Released by Glyn Walters, Human Rights Commission Communications Officer. Telephone 09 375 8627 or 025 313239.


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