Discrimination based on sex on account of different statutory retirement age

In the case of Moraru and Marin v. Romania (applications nos. 53282/18 and 31428/20, 20.12.2022) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 (general prohibition of discrimination) to the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The case concerned the compulsory retirement age for female civil servants in Romania, previously set lower than that set for men. Relying on Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 (general prohibition of discrimination) to the Convention, the applicants complained that being forced to retire at the compulsory age of retirement for women had amounted to discrimination. Ms Marin also relied on Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life). 

The Court adjudged that the case would be examined under Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 to the Convention alone. In the case-law of the Court it had been consistently found that differences in retirement age between the sexes amounted to a difference of treatment, as had been the case when these applications had been lodged. Regarding that situation’s compatibility with the Convention, the Court noted that the situation had been related to the social-security arrangements in place in the State. It observed that the domestic courts had failed to address relevant arguments around European Union law or the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The Government made no arguments concerning the financial or other costs to society of allowing women to work until 65. Indeed, the situation had later been remedied in Romania via legislation and a Constitutional Court decision (no. 387/2018).

A further decision of that court (no. 112/2021) extended that provision to the civil service. The Court concluded therefore that not giving the applicants the option to continue to work past the retirement age for women and until they reached the retirement age set for men had constituted discrimination based on sex which had not been objectively justified or necessary, in violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 to the Convention.

Reference from the official website of the European Court of Human Rights