Teacher’s removal from substitute teaching list at 65 was age discrimination, says inquiry board

School board couldn’t prove mandatory retirement policy was necessary to the business; teacher awarded more than $12,000 in damages

A Nova Scotia school board discriminated against a substitute teacher when it stopped considering him for teaching jobs after he turned 65, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has ruled.

John Cline, of Coldbrook, N.S., was a substitute teacher for the Annapolis Valley regional school board. When he turned 65 years old, the board, which had a mandatory retirement policy for employees at the time, removed him from the substitute teacher list. Cline filed a complaint with the commission claiming age discrimination.

The commission’s inquiry board ruled the mandatory retirement policy didn’t meet the test that it was necessary to the business to have such a policy. Without legitimate business reasons, the policy was discriminatory.

“The (board of inquiry) finds it hard to imagine how arbitrarily setting an age limit is more dignified than an open, transparent and structured process using objective criteria for performance appraisal,” the inquiry board said.

The inquiry board ordered the school board to pay Cline $1,000 in general damages and $11,850 in special damages based on an estimate of the income lost since he was taken off the list.

The Annapolis Valley school board has since rescinded the mandatory retirement policy.

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