Key facts of the case:
German legislation in the field of employees’ salaries based on collective agreements contained elements purely based on physical age. This legislation was changed some years ago, but the transitional provisions maintained the level of the former salary as starting base for the transition into the new system. Two employees challenged this maintenance and considered that to be prohibited discrimination on grounds of age. The appeals court decided to refer to ECJ.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- The principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age proclaimed in Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and given specific expression in Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, more particularly Articles 2 and 6(1) of that directive, must be interpreted as precluding a measure laid down by a collective agreement such as that at issue in the main proceedings which provides that, within each salary group, the basic pay step of a public sector contractual employee is determined on appointment by reference to the employee’s age. The fact that European Union law precludes that measure and that it appears in a collective agreement does not interfere with the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements recognised in Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
- Articles 2 and 6(1) of Directive 2000/78 and Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union must be interpreted as not precluding a measure in a collective agreement, such as that at issue in the main proceedings in Case C‑297/10, which replaces a system of pay leading to discrimination on grounds of age by a system of pay based on objective criteria while maintaining, for a transitional period limited in time, some of the discriminatory effects of the earlier system in order to ensure that employees in post are transferred to the new system without suffering a loss of income.