The job applicant who didn’t want the job

02 September 2016

Quite an unusual case, this one. Mr Kratzer was a job applicant who, as it turned out, appeared to have only applied for the job in order to gain job applicant status and, therefore, eligibility to bring a claim for compensation.

Kratzer v R + V Allgemeine Versicherung AG

Quite an unusual case, this one. Mr Kratzer was a job applicant who, as it turned out, appeared to have only applied for the job in order to gain job applicant status and, therefore, eligibility to bring a claim for compensation.

After being turned down, he demanded €14,000 for age discrimination. The employer invited Mr Kratzer to an interview, saying that the rejection had been wrongly triggered by its automated system. Mr Kratzer didn’t take up the offer, instead pursuing his claim and adding a sex discrimination element.

The question referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) by the German court was whether a person in that position is protected by discrimination legislation and, if so, is it an abuse of rights?

The ECJ held that, no, where a person makes a job application purely to entitle them to claim discrimination, they are not protected by discrimination law and they would not be entitled to compensation. That’s because:

1. the Equal Treatment Directive protects people who are ‘seeking employment’;
2. someone in that position would not be a ‘victim’ of discrimination, nor could they be said to have been injured, or to have sustained damage or loss;
3. people must not use EU law for abusive or fraudulent ends.

A rare scenario, no doubt, and in all but the most blatant of situations it would take a brave employer to take issue with the genuineness of a job application. Useful to know about, nonetheless.


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