The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has today handed down its decision in the case involving Age Concern England, a charity which aims to promote the welfare of older people. Age Concern is challenging current UK Law which since October 2006, has allowed employers to compel workers to retire at 65. Age Concern claims that the setting of such an age limit is inconsistent with the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive and is age discrimination.
The ECJ has agreed with the Advocate-General's opinion given last year and has ruled that a mandatory retirement age of 65 is capable of being objectively justified as being a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim - it is for the UK courts to decide whether that test is met.
The case will now return to the High Court to consider whether the UK's mandatory retirement age of 65 can be objectively justified, considering, for example, factors such as employment policy and the labour market.
This ruling is good news for employers, although we will have to wait and see what the High Court ultimately decides. The case is, however, unlikely to be heard for several months.