The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice has yesterday given an opinion in a case referred to Europe by the British courts about whether the UK’s statutory retirement rules are lawful.
There are a number of cases currently on hold before employment tribunals which challenge the fairness of retirement dismissals carried out in accordance with the regulations. If the eventual decision of the court was to go the other way the whole procedure would be struck down as unfair. This is what age campaigners were hoping for, however, this now seems unlikely.
This preliminary decision is obviously a set back for age campaigners who say that it is unfair that many older employees are forced to retire when they feel they still have much to contribute. However the Confederation of British Industry has pointed out that 80% of requests from employees to continue working are granted. The matter will only be settled when the full European Court of Justice decides the case early in 2009. In the meantime, it is expected that most UK employers will continue to follow the statutory procedure for retirement dismissals.
If you need any specific advice or guidance on retiring employees aged 65 or over, or on dealing with requests to work on beyond your organisation’s normal retirement age, Just Employment Law is well placed to assist you.