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Legal Updates

The age of reason

25 January 2010 #Employment

The ECJ has considered the use of age limits in two German cases this week.  In both cases, the ECJ held that the age limits were not contrary to the Equal Treatment Directive.


In the first case, Wolf v Stadt Frankfurt am Main (2010), the ECJ held that the maximum recruitment age of 30 for fire-fighters was justified as a Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR).    In the ECJ`s view, the need for fire-fighters to have high physical capabilities could be regarded as a GOR, necessary to ensure the efficient functioning of the fire service.  It was accepted by the ECJ that recruitment at an age over 30 would not allow recruits to be assigned to fire-fighting duties for a sufficiently long period, resulting in too few fire-fighters able to perform the job.


By contrast, in Petersen v Berufungsausschuss (2010), the EAT held that a law which sets a maximum working age of 68 for dentists working in the German national health service, is justified. An excessive number of dentists in the health service meant that setting a maximum working age was necessary to ensure shared employment opportunities between generations.

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