If you are 65 (or your 65th birthday is on or before 30 September 2011), and your employer issued you with a notice of retirement in line with the retirement procedure prior to 5 April 2011, your employer can force you to retire, so long as they have complied with the retirement procedure.   Under the retirement procedure you have a right to request that you work beyond the age of 65 either on the same or modified terms.  For example you might agree with your employer that you will work for a fixed period of 6 months beyond the age of 65, on part time hours.

If you were not issued with a retirement notice prior to, on or before 5 April 2011 or if you were issued with a retirement notice but you were not 65 (or do not have a 65th birthday on or before 30 September 2011) your employer cannot force you to retire by relying on the default retirement age.  You therefore have a right to work beyond the age of 65.

If your employer attempts to enforce an ‘employer justified retirement age’, the retirement can potentially be challenged on the grounds that the retirement age is not a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.  If there is a less onerous way in which your employer can achieve their legitimate aim, the retirement is likely to be an act of age discrimination and if the employer proceeds with the forced retirement, the retirement will also be an unfair dismissal.

The legal position is very subjective and the specific advice will vary for each individual based on their circumstances.  We would advise you to obtain independent legal advice.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from being treated less favourably because they have a protected characteristic. The relevant protected characteristics in employment are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race (including ethnic or national origins, colour and nationality)
  • religion or belief (including lack of belief)
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The new positive action provisions that came into force on 5 April 2011 mean that it is not unlawful for an employer to recruit or promote a candidate who is of equal merit to another candidate, if the employer reasonably thinks:

  • the candidate has a protected characteristic that is underrepresented in the workforce, or;
  • that people with that characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic.

Positive action does not however allow an employer to appoint a less suitable candidate just because that candidate has a protected characteristic that is underrepresented.
If you have applied for a vacant position and you have been offered the job, unless you have lied during the recruitment process about your suitability or your protected characteristic, you are entitled to accept the offer.

The legal position is very subjective and the specific advice will vary for each individual based on their circumstances.  We would advise you to obtain independent legal advice.

You should address your concern in writing, as soon as possible, setting out any questions that you have and submit it as a grievance in line with your employer’s grievance procedure.  If your employer doesn’t have a written grievance procedure, you should follow the ACAS Code of Conduct on grievances.

Your grievance should be addressed to your HR Manager or if your employer doesn’t have a HR Department, your Line Manager, or Office Manager.  Your grievance should state the following:

  • Why you believe that you are entitled to receive pension contributions from your employer;
  • The period during which your employer has made pension contributions;
  • The level of the monthly contributions that have been paid to date;
  • The date on which your employer started making contributions;

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