For the second time this year, Oxford has faced opposition from an academic appealing against their retirement under the University’s ‘Employer Justified Retirement Age’ (EJRA).
Professor Paul Ewart, former head of atomic and laser physics at Oxford’s Clarendon Laboratory, was retired before his 70th birthday, but is contesting this decision as his research is “blossoming” and remained important “particularly in making a contribution to solving the problem of climate change and environmental pollution being driven by emissions from combustion”.
Neither he, nor the University, were willing to comment on the case specifically as it is ongoing.
This follows a case earlier this year in which John Pitcher, English professor at St John’s College, lost an employment tribunal case to reverse his retirement by the college.
St John’s defended the EJRA as “promoting intergenerational fairness and maintaining opportunities for career progression”, as well as “promoting equality and diversity”.
Pitcher commented that “I am myself from a working class background and the importance of these kinds of social aims weighs strongly with me”, but believes that in this case he is being wrongly discriminated against.
This is the fourth challenge to the University’s retirement policy since its inception in 2011.