It looks like we might have been on to something with our earlier post on Harman's plans for positive discrimination.
From PA today:
UK retirement rules face a legal challenge today in a landmark case which could force changes to employment law. Age Concern claims that compelling people to stop work at or after 65 without compensation breaches EU equality requirements.
The organisation's lawyers will argue at a hearing in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg that the UK Employment Equality (Age) Regulations are contrary to the EU's Equal Treatment Directive, which bans employment discrimination on grounds of, amongst other things, age.
The UK regulations, introduced in 2006, do ban discrimination against an employee on grounds of age - with the exception of pensioners who can be dismissed without redundancy payments once they reach the age of 65, or the mandatory retirement age of the company if it is above 65. Government lawyers will argue that the exception is a matter for national rules, and the situation of retirement age workers should not be governed by the EU Directive.
If the Government is already running into trouble on age discrimination from the last round of EU equalities legislation then they probably have a reasonable chance of a bumpy ride with their own next round which is far more controversial.
Be prepared: an EU lawyer could be hiding round the corner