Law firm’s mandatory retirement policy retired (Legal View)

Partner had little control and was more like employee: B.C. court
By Tom Gorsky
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/13/2011

Once thought to be part of the Canadian social fabric, mandatory retirement has been under steady attack for many years. Recently, a British Columbia court took one more swipe at the issue by allowing a law firm partner to resist a directive to retire from practice.

Fasken Martineau, like many professional practices, had a mandatory retirement policy for its partners. When John McCormick, a partner at Fasken’s Vancouver office, reached the age of 65, his employer attempted to enforce this policy.

Although mandatory retirement is largely prohibited across Canada, Fasken believed its partnership retirement policy to be legal because McCormick was an equity partner — he held a percentage ownership interest in the firm — and, as such, could not be an employee.