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Age equality resources

Challenge to UK retirement age fails

In September 2009 the UK High Court upheld the law that allows UK employers to force workers to retire at the age of 65. This means that, even if they do not want to retire, a worker can be forced to leave their employment at the age of 65 without any redundancy payment.

The case had been brought by Age Concern and Help the Aged (now jointly Age UK), which argued that the compulsory retirement age goes against EU regulations.

On 5 March the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had published its judgment in the case brought by Age Concern. The central issue before the Court was whether the Equal Treatment Directive had been correctly transposed in to national law, in particular with regard to the imposition of a normal retirement age. It ruled that the domestic legislation fell within the scope of the Directive. Accordingly, the imposition of a normal retirement age was not unlawful.
The Court remitted the matter to the High Court in the first instance, for determination of whether the legislation reflects a 'legitimate aim' and, whether the means to achieve that aim were 'appropriate and necessary'.

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Contact Seth Atkin at satkin@ucu.org.uk


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