Supreme Court rules against lawyer who wouldn’t retire at 65

After working for 40 years at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver lawyer John Michael (Mitch) McCormick refused to retire quietly when he hit 65, alleging that his firm’s mandatory retirement policy for partners was age discrimination.

But on Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada put an end to his legal battle, ruling that law firms and other partnerships are allowed to force their partners to retire because they are not covered by provincial human rights codes.

Gillian Hnatiw, a Toronto lawyer with Lerners LLP who works on employment cases, said there is still a question as to whether different kinds of partners with fewer rights, such as the growing number of non-equity partners at law firms, could launch human-rights complaints. But any future case would likely be difficult.

“There’s a crack in the door, there’s not a window open,” Ms. Hnatiw said.

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