Compulsory retirement ‘might still be justified’

The Employment Tribunal (ET) has judged that compulsory retirement might still be justified in some circumstances.

On 30 May 2013, the ET ruled on the Leslie Seldon case, which was brought because Seldon was required to retire at age 65 from the partnership of law firm Clarkson Wright and James.

But Susan Fanning, head of DLA Piper’s employment team in London, said the case left a number of unanswered questions.

“We don’t have a particularity good understanding of why 65, as opposed to 66 or 67, is an appropriate age for retirement,” she said.

At the time of Seldon’s retirement, the default retirement age of 65 applied to employees, but not to partners.

Employers that want to retire staff at a particular age are now required to justify the policy.

But Kim Roberts, an associate in Jones Day’s labour and employment practice, said: “It is appropriate to move people on so younger employees can come through, so that there is career progression.”