What age is retirement?
The default retirement age in the UK has been abolished after being phased out from 2012. New legislation stops employers from compulsorily retiring workers once they reach the age of 65. Theoretically workers can no longer be forced to retire on the grounds of age alone.
However, if employers still want to enforce retirement, their decisions will have to be objectively justified. An employer can defend a case of direct or indirect age discrimination by showing the treatment or practice was a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim.
This drives from article 6 of the General Framework Directive, which states that a difference of treatment on age grounds is not unlawful if it is objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim, are appropriate and necessary.
The case-law does not suggest that direct age discrimination can only be justified in exceptional circumstances but logic would expect there to be a high threshold, where the employer acts on generalisations about people of a certain age, rather than considering their individual circumstances and capabilities. Further information and advice can be found on the DirectGov website here.