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Advertising for a young professional could cost you a lot of money…

A job advert aimed at “young professionals” (Berufseinsteiger) could constitute age discrimination according to the Higher Labour Court of Düsseldorf (Landesarbeitsgericht Düsseldorf – docket number: 13 Sa 1198/13).

A law firm published a job advert which included the following wording: “You are a young professional or you have already worked for one to two years as an attorney in a full service law firm”. The law firm rejected an application for the position from a 60 year old attorney, who subsequently claimed EUR 10,000 compensation for age discrimination on the basis of the General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – AGG). Whilst the Higher Labour Court indicated that the job advert could constitute age discrimination, it nevertheless dismissed the claim as in its opinion the attorney’s sole intention in applying for the job was to bring a claim for compensation. If an applicant does not apply with genuine intention for a job, a claim for a compensation is not justified.

According to the General Equal Treatment Act, in principle, compensation of up to 3 months’ salary can be claimed if a job advert constitutes (age) discrimination. Depending on the circumstances, there may also be a claim for additional damages. It is therefore imperative that job adverts are carefully crafted, that no discriminatory criteria are applied and that references to age or length of service in particular are avoided.