06 April, 2011
Lancashire law firm Forbes is warning employers that from today they can no longer force their employees to retire from employment simply because they have reached the age of 65. Although employees themselves can still choose to retire, an employer cannot enforce that choice.
This represents a massive change to employment law in this country; with potentially far-reaching implications for all businesses. Any employer that does 'retire' an employee from today's date is likely to face a claim for age discrimination and potentially unfair dismissal as well. Compensation in discrimination cases is unlimited, and any discrimination case inevitably attracts bad publicity.
Jonathan Holden, Employment Law expert at Forbes comments, "Although we have known this change to be coming for some time now, it will still be a massive change in the psyche of many employers. Discrimination on grounds of age can be justified, if an employer can show it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. But, in practice, that can be very difficult to do.
Employees can still be dismissed in an Employer can demonstrate that they are no longer capable of doing the job, but that is also a difficult and time-consuming process. It remains to be seen how the courts will interpret this developing area of law going forward, but any Employer would be well advised to take specialist advice on this complicated area of law before taking action."