Rules which allow employers to push employees out of the workplace on the basis of their age are "outrageous", it has been suggested.
According to Gordon Lishman, director-general of Age Concern, the right to work should be based on skills and motivation, as opposed to birth certificate.
He said: "There needs to be a fundamental shift in attitude towards age so that respect for youth and maturity is the norm rather than the exception.
"Mandatory retirement ages are forcing out dedicated and experienced employees who want to work and who continue to deliver to high standards."
Mr Lishman went on to say that for many people who don't have sufficient pension savings, the ability to work "free from discrimination" is a necessity rather than an optional extra.
During a recent debate in the House of Lords, peers agreed that many employers in the UK need help to overcome fears about removing the default retirement age, according to a report in Personnel Today.