EU Court Says Older Workers can be Forced Out

October 16, 2007 ( - The European Union's highest court has ruled EU countries can force workers to retire at 65 to make room for younger workers without violating a European Union directive barring age discrimination.

Reuters reports the court said it “does not appear unreasonable” for a country to require compulsory retirement at a particular age, and that forced retirement “may be appropriate and necessary” to promote “full employment by facilitating access to the labor market.”

The case involved a Spanish worker who was forced to retire because he reached age 65. Spain argued it was lawful for union agreements to impose a retirement age, Reuters said.

According to the news report, the EU directive at issue in the case bars “direct or indirect discrimination based on…age” and requires policies that “pay particular attention to supporting older workers, in order to increase their participation in the labor force.”

The directive also says discrimination based on age or other factors can undermine EU objectives, such as high employment.

The court ruling can be accessed here .