Distinction between ‘closely and distantly related’ work activity

Employment Court Aachen, Judgment from 13.12.2012 – 2 Ca 4226/11

Facts: The plaintiff was employed for over 12 years since his clinical training as a nurse. During this time, he furthered his education through on-the-job training. At no time was he a member of a religious society. The respondent is a church-run hospital.

On August 8, 2011, the plaintiff responded to the hospital's job advertisement for head nurse for the intensive care unit and was invited for an interview and to shadow. The plaintiff was told that the hospital had no doubts about hiring him. On 01.09.2011 the defendant informed the applicant that his non-belief constituted a problem in hiring him. At that time, the defendant believed erroneously that the applicant had left the church.

Judgment: The refusal of the applicant solely on the grounds that he was not a member of a religious community constitutes discrimination within the meaning of the AGG and triggers compensation according to § 15 para. 2 AGG. According to its own specifications in § 3 GrO, the confessional employer of the hospital may demand the membership in the Catholic Church only for the recruitment in positions which are pastoral, catechetical and generally in the field of education and in senior positions. For all other positions, it is sufficient that the applicant meets the specific job description criteria.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2011