Chiswick Teacher Forced To Retire Aged 68

European Court of Justice to rule on pursuing age discrimination claim

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Sixth-form teacher Andrew Webster is awaiting a European Court of Justice ruling on whether he can pursue an age discrimination claim against Arts Educational School after they sent him notice last November that he would have to retire at the end of the school year.

The 68-year-old English Literature teacher is now one of the thousands of people awaiting the results of Heyday’s fight against forced retirements which took a step forward this week when their legal challenge against the UK Government reached the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

"You can't help but feel like it's some sort of aspersion on your performance and your value as a person,'' said Mr Webster who is facing financial difficulties as a result of his forced retirement. With one child sixth form, and another at Bristol University, Mr Webster says he cannot afford not to work and is looking to do agency work whilst his wife, also a teacher, will be returning to work full time.

Ailsa Ogilvie, director of Heyday, said, “The 1.2million people in the UK working beyond state pension age do so only at the grace of their employer. Your right to work ends at 65 because of the default retirement age.

“It is absurd to think that as soon as you turn 65, the knowledge and skills that you’ve built up over the years are no longer valued and needed. Our right to work should not be based on our birth certificates, but on skills and motivation."

The next stage of Heyday’s case will come on 23rd September 2008 when the Advocate General will publish his opinion on the case. The judgment of the Court will hopefully be published before the end of the year.

July 4, 2008