The ECJ has decided in a Spanish case that the European Framework Directive on Equal Treatment does cover compulsory retirement ages.

The ECJ judgement noted that compulsory retirement is different treatment on the grounds of age but that the law was not discriminatory because it has the aim of promoting employment opportunities and the means of achieving the aim are appropriate and necessary.

This decision arguably will be a serious blow for Heyday who are bringing a similar challenge to compulsary retirement ages against the UK government. It justifies the default retirement age by referring to the interests and concerns of employers and businesses, not, as the Spanish do, to a national employment policy

It is therefore not clear if this would be considered a legitimate aim or an appropriate and necessary means of achieving it.

The President of the Employment Tribunal Service has ordered that age discrimination claims from employees aged 65 or over who have been forced to retire must be 'stayed' pending the outcome of Heyday’s challenge.

Palacios de la Villa –v- Cortefiel Servicios SA