Opinion

Wiggle-room for retirement

Whilst it should be common knowledge that the default retirement age is being abolished from this October, it appears that the European Court of Justice has given employers a little latitude so that some employees can be compulsorily retired.

The ECJ case - Fuchs v Land Hessen - involved a state prosecutor in Germany who was obliged to retire at 65. The ECJ decided that German legislation that required state prosecutors to retire at 65 - on a decent pension - is justified.

Commentators say that the ruling allows employers to retire employees to encourage the rise of a younger workforce; further, the ruling indicates that retirement is allowed to prevent disputes over employees and their fitness to work.

Fundamentally, the ruling seems to give employers the opportunity to find reasons to retire staff. Employers still need to be careful though - the reasons need to objectively justifiable.

This was first published in August 2011

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