The law which allows UK employers to dismiss employees on their 65th birthday has been upheld by the High Court. The Employment Equality (Age Discrimination) Regulations 2006 introduced a Default Retirement Age of 65 which meant that employees could find their contracts terminated when they reach 65 with no redundancy pay, even if they were keen to continue working, as long as the correct procedures are followed. Age Concern brought the case, known as the Heyday case, to find out whether this was inconsistent with the Equal Treatment Directive. The ECJ found that the UK legislation does not breach the Equal Treatment Framework Directive and it is for the UK courts to decide whether the test of "forced retirement" being justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim is met.
However, Mr Justice Blake made it clear that although he had decided to uphold the law, he expressed the view that he felt there was a "compelling case" for a change in the law. He went as far as to say that he would have ordered a review, save for the fact that the government announced it is bringing forward the review of the compulsory retirement age to 2010.
The Incorporated Trustees of the National Council on Ageing (Age Concern England) v Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform