News - Germany

Germany - June 2012

Strict deadline for claims under the Equal Treatment Act

The time limit for bringing claims under the General Law on Equal Treatment is a strict one and commences on the date on which the employee learns about the discrimination and lasts for two months.

The defendant, the federal state of Saarland, advertised three jobs for teachers in a penal institution The plaintiff applied for the job, indicating that he was severely disabled, which had been officially recognized. The application was rejected by letter dated 29 August 2008 and the plaintiff received that letter on 2 September 2008. By letter dated 4 November 2008 the plaintiff asserted a claim for damages and compensation as he had not been invited to an interview.

The claim was unsuccessful in the three lower courts. The German Federal Labour Court confirmed the opinion of the courts of lower instance that the plaintiff had to comply with the two month deadline set out under § 15 par. 4 of the General Law on Equal Treatment AGG. The plaintiff was in a position to claim discrimination from the moment he had received the letter of rejection onwards, i.e. from 2 September 2008 onwards. However, the plaintiff’s letter regarding the matter was not received by the defendant until 4 November 2008, and was therefore out of time due to being outside the statutory two month time limit.

German Federal Labour Court, judgment dated 15 March 2012, file reference 8 AZR 160/11

For further information or to discuss any of the issues raised, please contact Stefanie Andrelang on 0049 89 2422300.