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Charles Russell has acted pro bono to win an employment case that could give workers over the age of 65 the right to unfair dismissal payments and redundancy payouts
At the moment, people over 65 cannot make unfair dismissal or redundancy claims in employment tribunals. The firm argued that the over-65 cutoff point is indirect sexual discrimination against men. There are twice as many men over 65 working than there are women. The firm acted in conjunction with Islington Law Centre, an organisation that provides free legal advice to people without access to justice. Charles Russell and Islington Law Centre took the case on behalf of 71-year-old John Rutherford from Essex and 74-year-old Samuel Bentley from Islington, North London. The two men were dismissed from their jobs in the clothing industry for being over 65. The Stratford employment tribunal ruled that the two men had suffered indirect sexual discrimination. Charles Russell in-house barrister Paul Quain said: "The lack of protection against unfair dismissal and redundancy hits twice as many men [who are over 65] as it does women," he said. "People aged over 65 are an increasingly significant part of the working population, and the Government itself is trying to promote older workers in the workforce." The case could now be reviewed by the European Court of Justice. Charles Russell said that until a European directive is implemented in 2006 there are no laws banning age discrimination.