Age and Employment
Issued on 06/12/2011
A new thematic report from the European Network of Legal Experts in the non-discrimination field, titled "Age and Employment" is published. This report, written by Declan O'Dempsey and Anna Beale, supervised by Mark Freedland, is published by the European Commission and examines some practical aspects of the implementation of the prohibition of age discrimination by reporting States
The report considers how the different ways in which the various exception, or potential exceptions, to the principle of equal treatment are phrased in the Directive have influenced national legislation on age discrimination.
The framework of EU law prohibiting age discrimination, as created by Article 19 TFEU and Directive 2000/78/EC on Employment Equality ('the Directive'), is unique in European discrimination law. It provides for a broader range of exceptions to the principle of equal treatment than is permitted in connection with any other protected characteristic.
In particular, the Directive provides that direct discrimination on grounds of age may be justified; whereas direct discrimination on any other of the grounds covered by the Directive may not.
This creates an inherent vulnerability at the heart of the prohibition of age discrimination, and means that a careful balance has to be struck in order to ensure that the prohibition is meaningful. It points towards the need for consistent guidance on the facts of ageing being made centrally available so that the prohibition can be applied with some consistency in identical factual situations in different member States.
The report is available to download below.
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