Key facts of the case:
(Reference for a preliminary ruling — Social policy — Directive 2000/78/EC — Equal treatment in employment and occupation — Articles 1 to 3 — Prohibition of all discrimination based on a disability — Whether a ‘disability’ exists — Concept of ‘long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments’ — Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union — Articles 3, 15, 21, 30, 31, 34 and 35 — Dismissal of a worker who is temporarily unable to work, within the definition of national law, for an indeterminate period of time)
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Third Chamber) hereby rules:
Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation must be interpreted as meaning that:
– the fact that the person concerned finds himself or herself in a situation of temporary incapacity for work, as defined in national law, for an indeterminate amount of time, as the result of an accident at work, does not mean, in itself, that the limitation of that person’s capacity can be classified as being ‘long-term’, within the meaning of the definition of ‘disability’ laid down by that directive, read in the light of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was approved on behalf of the European Community by Council Decision 2010/48/EC of 26 November 2009;
– the evidence which makes it possible to find that such a limitation is ‘long-term’ includes the fact that, at the time of the allegedly discriminatory act, the incapacity of the person concerned does not display a clearly defined prognosis as regards short-term progress or the fact that that incapacity is likely to be significantly prolonged before that person has recovered; and
– in the context of the verification of that ‘long-term’ nature, the referring court must base its decision on all of the objective evidence in its possession, in particular on documents and certificates relating to that person’s condition, established on the basis of current medical and scientific knowledge and data.
- By its first four questions, which it is appropriate to examine together and secondly, the referring court essentially seeks an interpretation of Articles 3, 15, 21(1), 30, 31, 34(1) and 35 of the Charter in a situation such as that at issue in the main proceedings.
- In this regard, it must be recalled that, according to settled case-law, in the context of a reference for a preliminary ruling under Article 267 TFEU, the Court may interpret EU law only within the limits of the powers conferred on it (judgment of 27 March 2014, Torralbo Marcos, C‑265/13, EU:C:2014:187, paragraph 27, and order of 25 February 2016, Aiudapds, C‑520/15, not published, EU:C:2016:124, paragraph 18).
- With regard to the Charter, Article 51(1) thereof states that the provisions of the Charter are addressed to the Member States only when they are implementing EU law. Article 6(1) TEU and Article 51(2) of the Charter provide that the provisions of the Charter do not extend the scope of EU law beyond the powers of the EU as defined in the Treaties.
- As is apparent from the Court’s settled case-law, where a legal situation does not come within the scope of EU law, the Court does not have jurisdiction to rule on it and any provisions of the Charter relied upon cannot, of themselves, form the basis for such jurisdiction (see judgment of 26 February 2013, Åkerberg Fransson, C‑617/10, EU:C:2013:105, paragraph 22, and order of 25 February 2016, Aiudapds, C‑520/15, not published, EU:C:2016:124, paragraph 20).
- In that regard, it must be held that, at the present stage of the main proceedings, it has not been established that the situation at issue comes within the scope of a provision of EU law other than those set out in the Charter.