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The EC Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation covers a number of grounds of discrimination including age. The EU’s population is ageing, but there is much evidence that age discrimination is widespread. The Directive is a reaction to that and the consequent desire to encourage greater participation in the labour market by older workers.
This is the first time that age discrimination has been made unlawful by the EU and, as a result, there are now laws in every Member State making such discrimination unlawful. The Directive, and much of the national legislation, however, treats age discrimination differently to the other grounds for unlawful discrimination. It is the only area which permits direct discrimination. Age discrimination generally may still be objectively justified by a legitimate aim if the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary. Such aims include legitimate employment policy, labour market, and vocational training objectives.
This insightful book—written by national experts in eight Member States and at the EU level—considers the ways in which the Directive has been implemented in some of the Member States and the extent to which they have taken advantage of the exceptions that are inherent in the Directive. Particular issues that are covered are: