Old fashioned stereotypical ideas unfortunately prevail in the England and Wales Cricket Board and they are in trouble. Not for the quality of the players or the match results but for the compulsory retirement at 65 of two of their very experienced umpires.
The two umpires have taken their claim to a tribunal sighting unfair dismissal and age discrimination but the ECB’s umpires’ manager Chris Kelly defended the Board’s decision saying it was common sense that their reactions would be slower at 65 and they would have trouble standing on their feet all day. He has been forced to admit that there is absolutely no evidence to support this assumption or that the standard of their work had been called into question.
Since 2011 employers have been banned from retiring staff at 65 unless they can objectively justify it. Where have ECB been for the last few years? The subject of ageism has never been so well documented and commented upon the BBC lost a tribunal claim when Miriam Reilly of Countryfile was dropped for a “younger model” and there was public outrage at the dropping of Arlene Phillips from Strictly Come Dancing. On a positive note the celebration of Twiggy at 65 becoming the face of L’Oreal in a very competitive and demanding environment.
Of course there are times when staff have gone past their prime and are no longer performing to the required standard this needs to be handled sensitively and firmly and of course The HR Dept can help with these difficult but necessary capability conversations.
With two of the successful England women’s team set to break new ground this summer by playing for Sussex County Cricket Club’s second team, there was a glimmer of hope that it will be the next step towards a woman playing in the first-class game in England but I guess old prejudices die slowly and equality of opportunity, it simply isn’t cricket!.