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Age Discrimination at Freshfields?

On trial in London this week is the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which stands accused by former partner Peter Bloxham of age discrimination related to the firm's adoption of a new pension scheme last year. Because pensions under the new scheme would be less generous, the firm gave partners over age 50 the option of retiring under the former plan, provided they did so by April 30, 2006. That put Bloxham between a rock and a hard place, he contends. At age 54, he was a year away from entitlement to 100 percent of his pension, but if he waited the year, he would lose the option of the former plan. He opted to retire by the cut-off date, which meant he would receive only 80 percent of his pension. (Leaving him, according to Bloomberg, having to get by on an annual pittance of $350,000 for the rest of his life.)

While Bloxham is expected to be his only witness, the case is bringing a parade of Freshfields' top lawyers and executives to the London Central Employment Tribunal. Slated to testify this week are managing partner Peter Jeffcote, chief executive Ted Burke, joint senior partner Guy Morton, global finance partner Perry Noble and former finance practice chair Bob Charlton. The Times calls it "one of the legal world’s most eagerly awaited spectacles for years."

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Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on July 10, 2007 at 06:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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