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An employment tribunal has decided that a law firm’s mandatory retirement age of 65 for partners was a proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aims of workforce planning and staff retention. Therefore, the retirement age was objectively justified and did not amount to direct age discrimination.
Clearly, whether a business can justify mandatory retirement will, to a large extent, depend on the nature of its organisation. Certain businesses may be encouraged by the courts’ acceptance that the aims of retention and workforce planning could only be achieved by way of a mandatory retirement age, and that a range of retirement ages could potentially have been proportionate.
This checklist highlights some examples of when a business may be able to justify treating employees differently because of their age.