Rejection of a candidate because of his age - Tribunal finds direct discrimination

31 May 2016

In a recent judgment of the Labour Tribunal of Ghent, division Roeselare of 2 May 2016, the court found that rejecting a candidate because of his age constitutes direct discrimination.

In this matter a company had advertised on its website that it was looking for a self-employed person whose services it could use. In response to his application, a candidate received an e-mail confirming that he had “the perfect profile” for the job “with the exception of his age”, which was the reason given his not being invited for an interview.

The Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities (Unia) initiated an injunction for relief based on the Anti-Discrimination Act of 10 May 2007.

The tribunal judged that there was direct discrimination of the candidate based on his age. The affirmation of the company that it recently had had bad experiences with older employees who struggled with software programs could not justify the age-based distinction.

Taking into account the direct discrimination, the tribunal decided:

  • to order the company to immediately stop the discrimination under penalty of a fine and to forbid the company to reject this candidate or any other candidate because of their age;
  • to order the company under penalty of a fine to display the operative part of the judgment at:
    - its main office and the places where the interviews are held;
    - in all the company’s retail outlets.
  • to order the company to pay compensation for moral and material damages. As no acceptable calculation was to hand, the tribunal estimated the compensation on the merits of the case at EUR 25,000.00 gross.

> Action point
Remember that selection procedures, including those for self employed workers, fall under the scope of application of the Anti-Discrimination Act of 10 May 2007. This law protects candidates from discrimination based on a list of fixed criteria, including age, sexual orientation, handicap and health. Our team can always check with you whether a justification is available for a distinction you wish to make.