Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Age concern

Some elements of uncertainty over the effect of the Age Discrimination Regulations have been resolved by a recent case at the European Court of Justice. The court had previously found that it was legitimate for employers to have a scheme that differentiated by length of service where this reflected greater experience and hence expertise.

It has now ruled that imposing a default or compulsory retirement age is legitimate if the worker has reached retirement age and is entitled to a pension and where the purpose has a legitimate social aim (for example, to make room for new employees or to allow part-time employment to be converted into full-time).

The ruling may ensure that the 'default retirement age', which allows an employer to dismiss on grounds of retirement, is likely to survive legal challenge where an employer can show a similarly legitimate social objective.

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