A challenge to the right of employers to make people retire at 65 has been rejected by a European court adviser – What does this mean?
Age Concern, under the banner of ‘Heyday’ is challenging UK laws, which since 2006 have allowed employers to compel workers to retire at 65.
The Advocate-general, a senior legal adviser to the European Court of Justice, has recently backed current UK rules - although the view is not binding. Some 260 people in Britain have cases at employment tribunals which depend on the European court's ultimate decision.
Many believe they have been unfairly treated and are worse off because they had to retire at 65. Currently a Company can set a default retirement age but must follow the correct procedure before automatically retiring someone. The employee must receive a letter at least 6 months prior to their retirement date setting out their right to request to continue working. If they do so then a meeting must be held and consideration given to their request.
Campaigners, who believe that setting an age limit is discriminatory, described the latest decision as a setback but stressed that the case would run for some time. But employers' groups have welcomed the latest guidance. Around a third of UK employers have a mandatory retirement age, but this is not necessarily set at 65.
The Advocate-general's view could influence the judges who are expected to give their ruling in the case just before Christmas or early next year, but it is not binding. If they eventually find in the campaigners' favour, the case could then return for a final hearing in a British court.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016