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CJEU Case C-414/16 / Judgment

Vera Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk für Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V.

Policy area:
Employment and social policy
Deciding Body type:
Court of Justice of the European Union
Deciding Body:
Court (Grand Chamber)
Type:
Decision
Decision date:
17/04/2018

Key facts of the case:

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Social policy — Directive 2000/78/CE — Equal treatment — Difference of treatment on grounds of religion or belief — Occupational activities within churches and other organisations the ethos of which is based on religion or belief — Religion or belief constituting a genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement, having regard to the organisation’s ethos — Concept — Nature and context of the activities — Article 17 TFEU — Articles 10, 21 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

Outcome of the case:

On those grounds, the Court (Grand Chamber) hereby rules:

  1. Article 4(2) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, read in conjunction with Articles 9 and 10 of the directive and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, must be interpreted as meaning that, where a church or other organisation whose ethos is based on religion or belief asserts, in support of an act or decision such as the rejection of an application for employment with it, that by reason of the nature of the activities concerned or the context in which the activities are to be carried out, religion constitutes a genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement, having regard to the ethos of the church or organisation, it must be possible for such an assertion to be the subject, if need be, of effective judicial review by which it can be ensured that the criteria set out in Article 4(2) of that directive are satisfied in the particular case.
  2. Article 4(2) of Directive 2000/78 must be interpreted as meaning that the genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement it refers to is a requirement that is necessary and objectively dictated, having regard to the ethos of the church or organisation concerned, by the nature of the occupational activity concerned or the circumstances in which it is carried out, and cannot cover considerations which have no connection with that ethos or with the right of autonomy of the church or organisation. That requirement must comply with the principle of proportionality.
  3. A national court hearing a dispute between two individuals is obliged, where it is not possible for it to interpret the applicable national law in conformity with Article 4(2) of Directive 2000/78, to ensure within its jurisdiction the judicial protection deriving for individuals from Articles 21 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and to guarantee the full effectiveness of those articles by disapplying if need be any contrary provision of national law.