My Employees are Retiring
Common HR Questions
Q: I have heard rumors that some of our key employees are considering retirement. They are in positions that will be hard to fill. Can I ask them if they are planning on retiring?
A: This is a risky conversation. The risk is that these individuals are in a protected class due to their age, so any conversation surrounding decisions being made and age being a factor, are dangerous. We understand that it is important to your business to have time to fill key positions and that information up-front regarding employees’ retirement plans would certainly be helpful.
Here’s what we suggest: Have conversations with ALL employees in key positions in their organization about their goals and plans. This will give you the succession and workforce planning information you need without the risk. It may also uncover some additional information about employee’s plans that would help you make sound business decisions. This can be done during your regular performance evaluation process or as a separate effort. The key is to NOT ONLY have a conversation with older employees who are of retirement age.
MEA’s goal is to provide current, detailed and useful information to HOTLINE callers, but our responses do not constitute legal advice about what you should or should not do in a particular situation. You should always consult legal counsel, in the context of a confidential attorney-client relationship, before taking any action that could have legal implications for you or your business. If legal services are needed, MEA members are entitled to a discounted fee arrangement with the Powell Trachtman law firm, which serves as MEA’s general counsel. For more information, contact Michael G. Trachtman at firstname.lastname@example.org.