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Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by ACMM, Feb 16, 2011.
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This in the National Post today. Interesting to see how it plays out.
This one isn't going to be put to bed until it gets to the SCC. The sooner it gets there, the better for everyone.
Sorry I am dense - what is the SCC? Supreme Court of Canada?
Yup. The issue of age discrimination is becoming very important, so they are going to need to settle it at some point.
This case is even more interesting because it asks if a group can vote to waive the rights of group members. The age rule was built into a contract that the union voted to accept, but that might not be ok from a rights perspective.
IMHO, if someone is safely capable of working and also wants to work, then by all means let them. There are many positions in life where an awful lot of experience comes with doing. Naturally older people tend to have more experience than younger folks.
On the flip side though, I do think older people should have the decency to figure out when a good time to quit actually is. There are capable people who hang on too long to the detriment of the organization and the younger folks in the lower ranks who can't be promoted because there are too many senior people who are stagnant and not leaving.
It's a balance that's difficult, but not impossible to maintain. But on the whole I do think that forced retirement because of age is no longer a valid argument.
I'm not sure a Supreme Court decision is necessary here. Many (most?) of the various provincial Human Rights Commissions have already invalidated the concept of forced retirement due to age.
I think they'll step in over whether it is a right that can be waived. Remember, in this case AC didn't randomly force mandatory retirement on these pilots, the union agreed to put that into their contract (and both sides have reasons to want it).
It's like 'closed-shop' rules. You have a constitutional right to not be in a union (Freedom of Association), but the court has held that contracts that require a company to only hire union members ('closed shop') are allowable, with very few exceptions. So for 'closed shops', the group (all union members) are allowed to restrict a right of the individual union members.
The question is if a contract can waive age discrimination the same way they can legally waive freedom of association. And that question (IMO) will need to be considered by people above the HRC.