WRC Awards €50,000 Age Discrimination Compensation to Former RTÉ Reporter Valerie Cox

The Workplace Relations Commission awarded €50,000 to former RTÉ presenter Valerie Cox yesterday by after they found that she had been discriminated against due to her age.

The WRC was advised Ms Cox, who worked at RTÉ for 21 years before her retirement in 2016, had two different contracts of employment with two different sets of terms and conditions.

Speaking on RTE with Sean O’Rourke this morning, Ms Cox stated: “I loved working with you, it was a lovely, lovely job. I would have loved to have stayed on, I don’t know how long for but I would have loved it.

“I’m working as a freelance journalist and still loving it. It’s one of the best jobs in the world,” she said.

Ms Cox was on two different contracts with RTE. The first contract, beginning in August 2004, was a full-time contract of direct employment, which involved work as a radio reporter on programmes including the showToday with Sean O’Rourke. It was from this role that she retired when her contract terminated on March 8th, 2016 when she celebrated her 65th birthday.

The other contract of employment was a freelance contract for the ‘What It Says In The Papers’ slot on RTE Radio’s flagship programme ‘Morning Ireland’, as well as early morning slots on the weekend periods.

Ms Cox says that when she called RTE to resume her freelance contract work after her a brief break, she was advised told by RTE that she could not return to work at RTÉ due to her age.

RTE said it did not comment on particular cases, even if they were planning to appeal the ruling or not.

The WRC ruling has been referred to as a “landmark decision” by members of Dául Eireann. Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin remarked that Ms Cox’s case will the first of many on the basis of ageism as people seek to work later in life and he pleaded with the Government to prioritise legislation which will abolish the compulsory retirement age of 65 from many sectors of the public service.

Commenting on the WRC ruling Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Conveney reacted to the ruling by announcing that he plans to remove the compulsory retirement age are being advanced and will come into effect “as soon as possible”. In the meantime interim arrangements have been put in place to address this situation.