When the city of Ecorse hired a long-time city policeman to be chief of police, it seemed like a sound move. But problems began when the mayor terminated him because he was too old.
The mayor claimed the city charter required the chief of police to retire at age 60. But doing so cost the chief his pension, so he sued. The city maintained that political appointees, such as the chief, serve at the pleasure of the mayor and can be replaced anytime. A jury didn’t see it that way and awarded the chief $1.9 million.
Advice: Employers that have jobs with mandatory retirement ages should re-examine them. You need to develop a sound business-related reason for any earlier-than-usual retirement ages. Many mandatory retirement-age rules date from a time when life expectancies were shorter. Hanging onto these rules makes you—not the person being replaced—the dinosaur.