A 65-year-old physical education lecturer at Edge Hill University has accused her employers of age discrimination after they refused to extend her contract by 15 months, writes Tony Tysome.
Vikki Harrhy, who has worked at Edge Hill for 39 years and is course leader on a postgraduate PE programme for trainee teachers, put in a request last September to work beyond her normal date for retirement.
The university turned down the request, and Ms Harrhy claims it gave no reason for rejecting her recent appeal.
"The fact they have given no explanation makes this seem to me like age discrimination. There are no physical grounds for turning me down - I am fit and always in the gym helping students. I'm not ready for a Zimmer frame just yet," she said.
The University and College Union said it expected to take Ms Harrhy's case to industrial tribunal, although its outcome could be heavily influenced by an Age Concern campaign for a judicial review on the Government's failure to remove the statutory retirement age.
The union said Edge Hill's stance was against the spirit of the latest laws and guidance from the Universities and Colleges Employers Association.
The university said Ms Harrhy had been kept fully informed of the reasons for not deferring her retirement. Ann Collins, Edge Hill director of human resources, said its retirement policy met the requirements of age legislation and had been approved by trade unions.
Cash for training PE teachers had fallen in the past two years and was due to fall again in September, she said. "Consequently, there is a strong business case for not deferring retirement."