Business of Law

BigLaw Partner Scores Win in Retirement Fight; He's an Employee, for Discrimination Law Purposes


A Vancouver partner in one of Canada’s biggest law firms has scored another victory in his fight to avoid retiring at age 65.

In an opinion released today, the British Columbia Supreme Court upheld a ruling last year by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal that Mitch McCormick, 66, would be considered an employee of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin for the purpose of applying the province’s statute barring age discrimination, reports the Globe and Mail.

The law firm had argued that the law doesn’t apply to McCormick, because he is a partner, and that he, like other partners, accepted the mandatory retirement policy by signing onto the firm’s partnership agreement.

As detailed in earlier ABAJournal.com posts, similar rulings have been reached by courts in the United States that have considered the issue, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission pursued a case against Sidley Austin based on the firm’s then-current mandatory retirement policy for partners.

A previous post on the McCormick case, Partner, 66, Balks at BigLaw Retirement, May Be an Employee Under Civil Rights Statute, links to prior coverage of the Sidley Austin-EEOC matter and other such cases.

Additional coverage:

Lexology (reg. req.): “BC Supreme Court finds law firm & equity partner in an employer-employee relationship”

Updated on July 20 to link to subsequent Lexology post.

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