Employers may not be able to rely on the statutory compulsory retirement procedure for employees who are 65 or over.

Colleagues will be aware that the Age Discrimination Regulations have been challenged by Heyday. The President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal has now ordered that all claims of discrimination relating to dismissal on retirement should be “stayed” pending the European Court of Justice’s decision on Heyday’s challenge.

This decision has been very widely published and we think it only too likely that even if an employer follows the correct statutory procedure on retirement, the employee will bank a claim. There is no cost for bringing a claim and so there is arguably nothing to lose.

The European case is not likely to be decided before 2009 and this means that organisations may wish to review their whole retirement procedure now, to avoid the risk of backdated awards in the future.