Legal Position in Ireland
Generally, the Employment Equality Acts 1998 to 2015 prohibit age discrimination in the workplace.
Whilst setting a mandatory retirement age is permitted under the Irish Employment Equality Acts, the retirement age must be objectively justifiable. With no statutory retirement age in Ireland, mandatory retirement is enforced through the contract of employment.
Examples of accepted objective justification include succession planning, health and safety issues and intergenerational fairness.
According to the 2018 Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) Annual Report, there were 1449 equality complaints made to the WRC in 2018. 49% of these complaints alleged age discrimination.
These figures show a significant increase in age related disputes at the WRC compared to 2017 when discrimination on the ground of age was alleged in only 24% of equality claims.
Our Survey Results
Our survey results (shown overleaf) suggest that the mindset amongst the Irish workforce is changing when it comes to career longevity and anticipated retirement ages. 61% of those surveyed believe that they will have to work beyond the age of 66. 68% of respondents believe there is no upper age limit for customer facing jobs. Conversely, only 32% of these surveyed would actually like to work beyond the age of 66, while 61% of respondents believe that older workers are inhibited by technological change. These figures, when considered in conjunction with the age discrimination claims statistics in the 2018 WRC Annual Report, suggest mixed attitudes towards the subject of age in the workplace.