Former RTÉ reporter Valerie Cox, who was "devastated" when her freelance contract was terminated by her employer because of her age, has won €50,000 compensation.
Valerie Cox had two separate contracts: a full time role which provided for a clear retirement age of 65 years old, and a freelance contract which did not. Initially, she was told that when her full time contract ended she would be placed on the roster for casual work, but only after a period of time had passed.
Valerie Cox said that months went by and, despite chasing for any update about a return to her freelance position, she heard nothing. Only 9 months later was she told that she would not be allowed to return and that “it is on age grounds”.
At the hearing, RTE argued that the retirement age for freelancers was set out in the handbook, but the Workplace Relations Commission's adjudication officer found that the handbook did in fact provide for continuation of a role after the age of 65.
For these reasons, it ruled in Valerie Cox's favour.
Politics and reform of retirement age
Labour leader Brendan Howlin wants to stop cases like this from happening again. He has called for legislation to abolish the mandatory retirement age in the public sector, and to ensure those working in the private sector will be able to keep working after the age of 65 if they so desire.