• Robert Spicer

Religious discrimination: occupational requirement

RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

Occupational requirement

Case Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk fur Diakonie und Entwicklung eV (2018) Morning Star, July 27, European Court of Justice

Facts E applied for a post with EW, part of the German Protestant Church. The advertisement for the post specified that applicants must belong to the Working Group of Christian Churches in Germany. E did not belong to any religious faith. She was shortlisted but was not selected for interview. She complained of religious discrimination. The local labour court upheld her complaint. The Federal Court referred the matter to the ECJ.

Decision 1. The right of organisations to discriminate by applying a genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement is subject to judicial review by the national court.

  1. In that event, employers have to prove that the requirement was necessary and objectively dictated.

  2. The rights of churches and other ethical organisations to recruit workers with the same ethos must be balanced against those of workers not to be discriminated against on grounds of religion or belief.

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