Rosenbladt v Oellerking Gebaudereinigungsges mBh

Mrs Rosenbladt had been employed by a cleaning fi rm for 39 years. In 2008 she was advised that her employment would terminate at the end of May, when she reached retirement age. She informed her employers that she wished to continue working and issued proceedings arguing that the termination of her employment was unlawful discrimination on grounds of age.

The ECJ had to decide whether national legislation permitting an individual employment contract to provide for the automatic termination of an employment relationship upon reaching a specifi ed fi xed age was age discrimination. It held that whilst a compulsory age of 65 in a contract of employment is discrimination on the grounds of age, it is justifi ed if the following conditions are met:

  • The retirement age in the contract has been collectively negotiated with a union
  • The employee will receive a pension so that they have a replacement income  
  • Compulsory retirement has been in widespread use in the relevant country for a long time without having had any effect on the levels of employment  

Although not of immediate importance in the UK it will provide useful guidance when the default retirement age is abolished in October 2011.