The law regarding serial claimants and those who bring spurious claims has come a long way over the years through lots of interesting case law. In 2014, for example, we saw an individual banned from bringing any further employment claims after he brought 30 unsuccessful cases over four years.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has now stated that the EU Directives prohibiting discrimination cannot be relied upon by claimants who apply for roles, not with a view to gaining the position itself, but to obtain compensation.
Mr Kratzer applied for a graduate trainee role at a company in Germany. When his application was rejected, he claimed that this was due to his age and sex and demanded €17,500 compensation. The company informed Mr Kratzer that the rejection was an automatically generated error and asked him to interview. Mr Kratzer refused to attend an interview until he received the compensation demanded. He then issued claims for age and sex discrimination.
The court was concerned that Mr Kratzer had applied for the role, not for the purposes of gaining the post, but to allow a discrimination claim to be brought. They referred the matter to the ECJ, which confirmed that a person acting in such a manner did not qualify for EU protection against discrimination. The purpose of the law was to provide protection to those who are genuinely seeking employment, and not for those with ulterior motives.
Employers can take some comfort from this example of the law protecting them from unscrupulous claims. However, it can be difficult to establish that an application is not genuine and, whilst this case was dismissed, the employer was no doubt put to considerable inconvenience and cost. Employers should accordingly ensure that their recruitment processes are fair and non-discriminatory in practice and appearance.
We would be happy to review your recruitment processes to ensure they help you find the best staff and avoid any legal pitfalls.