The University of Prince Edward Island is appealing a recent human rights decision that struck down the institution’s mandatory retirement policy as discriminatory.
The move by UPEI means the ruling of the PEI Human Rights Commission is destined for the province’s supreme court, but will likely not be reviewed before the fall.
The case arose from complaints lodged by three staff members who were forced to retire in 2005-2006 at age 65.
The commission, in its Feb. 23 ruling, found the university policy contravened certain provisions of PEI’s human rights law which ban discrimination based on age and that the university alone faced liability because it “imposed” rather than negotiated the clause.
Calling the administration’s reaction “bizarre,” the president of the University of Prince Edward Island Faculty Association, David Seeler, said the university “is taking the stance that they must manage by discriminating based on age, an approach inconsistent with their obligation to lead society.”
Despite the appeal, the commission will also make a further ruling on damages, including the possibility of reinstatement into the workplace, by June.
But Gary Bradshaw, UPEI’s vice-president of finance and facilities, told the Bulletin that the university “intends to maintain a status quo on mandatory retirement until the judicial review process has been completed and the results of the review have been assessed.”