No discrimination where applicant applies for job solely to bring a claim

The ECJ has considered whether a job applicant could claim protection from discrimination under the relevant European equal treatment framework directives if their application is made solely to seek compensation for discrimination, rather than to obtain employment.

In Kratzer v R & V Allgemeine Versicherung (“AV”), AV advertised for graduate trainees who had completed within the last year (or were about to complete) specific degrees. When Mr Kratzer’s application was automatically rejected for not meeting these specifications, he demanded compensation for age discrimination.

AV invited him to an interview, claiming his application had been erroneously rejected. He declined to attend an interview until he had received compensation. The ECJ found that protection from discrimination applies to those “seeking employment”. In its view, Mr Kratzer’s demand to be compensated before he would attend an interview suggested he was not seeking employment. Accordingly, he was not a victim of, or injured by, the automatice rejection of his application, had not suffered loss or damage and was not therefore discriminated against. The ECJ also emphasized that EU law should not be used for abusive or fraudulent ends.

The ECJ’s decision endorses previous UK case law that job applications must be genuine before applicants can claim to have suffered any disadvantage.