The president of employment tribunals has ordered that cases brought by people who have been forced to retire at 65, must be “stayed” pending the outcome of a case brought by Heyday (an offshoot of Age Concern). It is expected to be heard by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in early 2009.

The announcement follows the decision of an employment appeal tribunal in the case of Johns v Solent SD which overturned an earlier tribunal decision and said that Mrs. Johns’ claim should be stayed pending the outcome of the Heyday challenge. Heyday is challenging the validity of the national default retirement age of 65 in the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

This means that anyone who has been forced to retire at age 65 can lodge a complaint with a tribunal. Although employers are entitled to retire their staff when they reach the retirement age under the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 this decision means that employees’ rights will be preserved until the ECJ has made its decision in the Heyday case.

However it should be noted that this order will also be reviewed by the Court of Appeal when it gives its judgement in Johns v Solent SD sometime in 2008.

We will feature the ECJ decision in Palacios de la Villa v Cortefiel Servicios SA in a future LELR, in which it held that a Spanish law requiring compulsory retirement at 65 was not discriminatory because it could be justified.