CBI advises employers to stick to retirement policies despite legal advice

The CBI has ignored legal opinion in the wake of a critical tribunal judgment, to tell employers: don’t change your retirement policy.

Lawyers last week warned that the ruling meant employers could face a mountain of discrimination claims from workers forced to retire at 65.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal reversed an earlier decision that prevented Mrs A Johns, an employee of distribution firm Solent SD, from keeping such a claim on file until a European Court of Justice case had been heard.

The judgment on the legality of the UK’s mandatory retirement age is not expected until early 2009. Charity Heyday, which is taking the case to Europe, has encouraged employees made to retire before then to lodge claims in advance.

But CBI head of employee relations Katja Hall told Personnel Today: “Our advice has not changed. There is an increased risk in retiring staff, but we support mandatory retirement. There is no reason to change policy.”

Hall said companies were complying with UK law by asking people to retire at 65, thereby doing the right thing.

But Rachel Dineley, partner at law firm Beachcroft, said: “Employers will need to re-evaluate any policy they have to retire employees. If the Heyday case succeeds, it could have serious financial consequences for employers facing claims.”

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