Job Applicant who applied for a job in order to solely bring a claim is refused protection
In the recent case of Kratzer v R + V Allgemeine Versicherung AG, the European Court of Justice (the ECJ) has held that EU Directives protecting job applicants against discrimination on the ground of sex and age, cannot be relied upon where an individual applies for a role purely in order to bring a claim for compensation and has no intention of ever accepting such a role.
The ECJ has held that EU law should not be used for abusive or fraudulent ends. Whilst it is up to National Courts to determine the facts of each case and to decide whether or not there had, in fact, been an abuse, the ECJ is clear that a situation where an individual applies for a job, purely in order to make a claim, is likely to constitute an abuse of rights.
In this case, the Company advertised trainee positions for legal graduates. Applicants were required to have a good university degree in law or to be about to complete one. They were also required to have practical vocational experience. Additionally, applicants were required to have passed the State Examinations and to have taken either an Employment Law or Medical Law option.
The Claimant was a Lawyer and former manager of an insurance company. He applied for one of the legal trainee positions. When the Company rejected his application, he wrote complaining of age discrimination and demanding €14,000 in compensation. The Company then invited the Claimant to an interview with its Head of Human Resources stating that its rejection of his application had been automatically generated and did not accord with its intentions. The Claimant declined the invitation suggesting his future could only be discussed once the claim had been satisfied. He then issued a claim for compensation in the Wiesbaden Labour Court.
The Claimant subsequently learned that although the 60 plus applicants for the trainee positions had been equally divided between the sexes, the Company had awarded all four posts to female applicants. The Claimant, then proceeded to issue a claim for compensation for sex discrimination. Both the Wiesbaden Labour Court and the Regional Labour Court dismissed the Claimant’s claim. The Claimant then appealed to the Federal Labour Court, which made the reference to the ECJ.
The ECJ took the view that, where a job application is made purely for the purpose of obtaining the formal status of a job applicant, in order to claim compensation, such an application would fall outside of the scope of the directives. The ECJ said that, to find otherwise would be incompatible with the directives’ objective of ensuring equal treatment in “employment and occupation”. It further reasoned that a person making an application solely to claim discrimination should not be regarded as a “victim” or a “person injured” within the meaning of the directives. Furthermore, the ECJ ruled that EU Law could not be relied upon for abusive of fraudulent ends.
The case will be welcomed by businesses and clearly, accords with principles of natural justice. The case confirms, that the protections afforded under the relevant directives, are only given to those who legitimately require the protection.