Cause for concern in German DRA case?


It’s been rather quiet over the summer months in relation to developments on the various legislative issues that are likely to affect our clients’ employee benefit arrangements.

However, now that everyone is back from their holidays we’re beginning to see some interesting stuff appearing. The latest is in relation to the current grey area of the impact of the Default Retirement Age. Our friends at Mills & Reeve have issued one of their hr Law Live bulletins regarding a case heard by our old chums at the European Court of Justice.

You can click through to the original article here.

Although the judgement majors on the case of the German pilots being forced to retire at 60 there is one worrying aspect to it. For those of us regular flyers its worrying that air traffic safety doesn’t seem to be a legitimate reason to force a pilot to retire. The judgement seems to rest on the fact that safety considerations are not similar to the examples of legitimate aims listed in the original European Directive. These are things like employment policy, the labour market, or vocational training objectives.

As Mills & Reeve put it:

“(It) suggests a stricter reading of the Directive on this point than has been adopted by our domestic courts, which will be a worry for employers wishing to use a broad range of aims to justify age discrimination.”

It’s very likely that this is how Default Retirement Age legislation will evolve – by case law and precedent. It’s worth therefore keeping an eye on the stuff being issued by the UK and European courts when you’re framing your own policies.

For my part, my main concern is that the next time I get to the bottom of the aircraft steps at the airport there may be a stair lift installed for the pilot!

Steve Clark

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