In this case (Hornfeldt v Posten Meddelande) the Claimant worked for the postal service in Sweden until he reached 67 when his employment was terminated in accordance with the Swedish national retirement age. The Claimant was concerned that his pension earned by age 67 was not sufficient and he wanted to work for a number of additional years to supplement his pension. He subsequently complained that his dismissal amounted to direct age discrimination.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (“Court of Justice”) held that the rule was a proportionate and necessary means of achieving legitimate aims and so was not age discriminatory. In addition it was in pursuit of legitimate aims and was an appropriate and necessary means of achieving those aims. The Court noted that amongst the aims which it considered to be legitimate included that it made it easier for younger people to enter the labour market and avoided the situation where the performance of older employees would have to be dealt with in the workplace, whose performance may be diminishing. The Court also concluded the retirement age was “appropriate and necessary” to meet those aims and that it was not necessary to take an employee’s pension into account, as there was nothing to prevent an employer offering an employee a fixed term contract to allow them to work beyond age 67. In addition those who had insufficient pension provisions had access to other state benefits.
Watch this space as the area of compulsory retirement is set to explode in coming years with diminishing pension pots and increasing bills.