Discrimination in recruitment claims: only interested applicants should apply

Discrimination in recruitment claims: only interested applicants should apply!

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has held that a man was not entitled to €17,500 in compensation for discrimination. The law is designed to protect applicants “seeking employment” and those, whose sole purpose in applying for a job is to bring a claim, are not actually doing so.

Facts and circumstances

In the case of Kratzer v R + V Allgemeine Versicherung, the claimant, Mr Krazter, had applied for a graduate job and was rejected. He contacted the company demanding €14,000 in compensation for age discrimination. The company said that his rejection had been automatically generated, not in line with its intentions, and invited him to attend for an interview. He declined, saying that he would only discuss this option once his claim was satisfied. He then submitted an additional claim of €3,500 for sex discrimination.

EU and UK Law

The Federal Labour Court of Germany referred the matter to the CJEU. The two pieces of law in question were the Equal Treatment Framework Directive and the Recast Equal Treatment Directive. In the UK this law is contained within the Equality Act 2010.

What did the CJEU make of this?

In its decision, the court said that someone who is only applying for a position in order to bring a claim could not be a “victim” within the meaning of the EU directives and so could not have suffered loss or personal injury. The court referred to its earlier judgements that EU law cannot be utilised to pursue abusive or fraudulent ends, stating:

“…that a situation in which a person who in making an application for a post does not seek to obtain that post but only seeks the formal status of applicant with the sole purpose of seeking compensation does not fall within the definition of ‘access to employment, to self-employment or to occupation’…and may, if the requisite conditions under EU law are met, be considered to be an abuse of rights.”
What does this mean for UK employers?

This case affirms the EAT decision of Keane v Investigo & Others that an applicant who has no interest in accepting a job, if offered, has no claim for discrimination if unsuccessful. “Mock” candidates, seeking to abuse EU or domestic laws, designed to protect individuals against discrimination, in order to claim compensation, will not be entitled to do so.

If you have any questions regarding:
• Discrimination;
• Recruitment;
• Tribunal claims; or
Any other aspect of Employment law, please contact: euan.smith@macandmac.co.uk

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