UK - The High Court has ruled it is legal for employers to force workers to retire at the age of 65.
The ruling is the result of a test case - brought by Age Concern and Help the Aged - on the legality of the default retirement age in July.
Mr Justice Blake decided that the Default Retirement Age introduced by the government in 2006 did comply with an EC Directive against age discrimination.
He indicated that an exempt retirement age at 65 was lawful back in 2006 when it was introduced, due to the prevailing circumstances and evidence available at the time.
However, he did say that there was a "compelling case" for a change in the law - and noted the law would not be likely to be lawful if it were introduced now because of the current economic conditions.
Law firm Pinsent Masons said the ruling was good news for employers.
Employment partner Jon Coley said: "This is good news for employers, especially those who have been retiring employees at 65. But this is only a short window of opportunity; with the government looking to review the default retirement age (DRA) next year this is certainly not the last we'll hear about this.
"The Government has brought forward the review of the DRA and the smart money is on it extending the DRA or removing it completely as a vote winning tactic ahead of the next elect
Dawsons employment lawyer Jill Andrew added: "Many employers will be breathing a sigh of relief at this outcome.
"A victory for Age Concern could have signalled the end for the default retirement age in this country, and in doing so prevented employers disposing of staff based only on their age."
She added: "At the moment employers rely heavily on the default retirement age to remove the older workers who they feel are no longer bringing value to the business. Removing the age bracket of 65 would give firms a major headache, and would force them to radically alter how they manage their staff."
However, The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said it was "disappointed" the court had upheld the law allowing employers to retire workers against their wishes when they turn 65.
CIPD diversity adviser Dianah Worman said: "The High Court has missed a trick to resolve this issue once and for all.
"The government itself has admitted that the days of the DRA are numbered. It seems counter-intuitive to drag this decision out even further while thousands of older people will be forced out of work in an already difficult jobs market."
She added: "As the HR body we do not buy the HR argument that businesses can't manage their workforce without the DRA. If you have poor performers in your organisation you should also have the performance management systems to deal with them. You wouldn't wait 25 years to remove a poor performing 40 year-old."
The Heyday case was referred back to the British courts after a European Court of Justice ruling confirmed a national default retirement age may be legal as long as it can be justified (Global Pensions; March 5, 2009).
The government said it was going to bring forward a review of the default retirement age to next year.
Pensions minister Angela Eagle said the review - originally due to take place in 2011 - would be brought forward to next year to investigate if a default retirement age was still relevant in today's society
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