Age discrimination and European law

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Publication Date 2005
ISBN 92-894-9698-3
ISSN 2314-9663
EC KE-68-05-147-EN-C
Content Type

Part I – Age and the framework equality directive
Differences of treatment between different individuals or groups on the grounds of age are often based on
generalised assumptions or casual stereotypes.When individuals are subject to discrimination as a result of these demeaning stereotypes, their fundamental right to respect for their human dignity is violated, as they are denied equality of treatment and respect. Such discrimination also prevents disadvantaged age groups from participating fully in the labour market.

Part II – Direct and indirect discrimination
To establish an initial claim for direct age discrimination (before the issue of justification arises), a claimant needs to show that he or she was treated less favourably than another person in the same situation was, is or would have been treated. However, the fluid nature of a person’s age, the uncertain and shifting nature of ‘age groups’, the changing expectations that accompany changes in age, and the differences in position and expectations that often exist even between persons of very similar ages all make the application of the comparator test difficult in the context of age.

Part III: Limitations and derogations
In respect of the issue of justification, member states would be advised to give real consideration and appropriate
guidance as to when age discrimination can be justifiable, whether on the basis that it constitutes a genuine
occupational qualification, direct discrimination or indirect discrimination.

Source Link
Related Links
The European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field
European Commission: DG Justice: Tackling discrimination

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