Can an employer tell a worker to retire at 65?
Can an employer have a policy that requires employees to retire at age 65?
What are the restrictions to terminate a seasonal worker? And what if seasonal worker is 67 years old and has been working for the company 20 years?
While asking older employees if they plan to retire isn’t necessarily discriminatory. It all depends on how and why you ask and how you behave after the employee responds. Asking about employees’ retirement plans may be necessary for retirement benefits, succession planning and other legitimate reasons. But it’s also a very touchy subject. The danger is that employees may perceive that in broaching the subject, you’re sending the message that you think they should retire. But there are things you can do to avoid that, such as:
Phrasing the question right—don’t mention anything about the employee’s age or use code words and phrases;
Explain why you’re asking the question and that it in no way implies that you think they are too old for the job or want a younger replacement;
If the employee says they are not planning to retire, back off and don’t press them, ask for reasons or express unhappiness or disappointment;
Tell her they are free to come to you for help when and if they do start contemplating retirement; and
Wait at least a year before asking them about retirement again—unless they broach the subject.