Since April 2011 you have not been able to dismiss employees just because they’ve reached the age of 65. So can you still have a retirement age of 65? Yes provided you can show “it was a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim,” or in plain English that it was reasonable in all the circumstances.
The devil as always is in the detail and the circumstances will always matter. So don’t assume we are back to where we were.
In Seldon v Clarkson Wright & Jakes
Mr Seldon, had been a partner in a firm of solicitors. Under the partnership deed he was compelled to retire at 65. He complained of direct discrimination on the grounds of age. The appeal courts held that such discrimination could be objectively justified. The courts went on to say that measures which sought to achieve inter-generational fairness or dignity at work could amount to legitimate aims. The case was remitted to the employment tribunal, which held that a mandatory retirement age of 65 was a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aims of retention, planning and (with some caveats) collegiality. But was 65 the right age to pick? Could it be said to be proportionate? Yes said the Employment Appeal Tribunal there was a need to balance the discriminatory effect of choosing a particular retirement age against its success in achieving the legitimate aims. That balance would not necessarily show that a particular point/age could be identified as any more or any less appropriate than another particular point/age.
The judgment is available in full on this link
Don’t take from this that you can be made to retire at 65 or that it is still okay to have a retirement age in your contract of employment of 65. A retirement age of 65 might be reasonable it might not. If you are concerned contact us.