Employment Update October 2009: Age discrimination

14 October 2009

Employment Group

Default retirement age of 65 is lawful

The High Court has completed the final rejection of Age Concern’s challenge to the default retirement age of 65 contained in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

Reg. 30 provides that it is not unlawful age discrimination for an employer to require an employee to retire on the grounds of age at 65.

The ECJ had already decided that it was well within the competence of the UK government to impose such a requirement on grounds of social and economic policy. It was not indicating a social worthlessness of those over 65 but was a measure designed to give certainty and corresponding focus for planning purposes to employers and employees alike.

Point to note –

  • Reg. 30 allows an employer to force an employee to retire at 65 without risking an age discrimination claim. It may also be possible to avoid an unfair dismissal claim if the correct statutory procedure is followed.