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Supreme Court of Denmark

Not age discrimination 
14-12-2015 

Case no. 28/2015
 

Judgment delivered on 14 December 2015


The Board of Equal Treatment's secretariat acting for A and B
vs.
The Agency for Modernisation


Dismissed employees were not entitled to compensation as it had not been shown that they had been subjected to age discrimination

In connection with cutbacks due to reduced funding for the Agency for Modernisation, the Agency dismissed five employees, including 58-year-old A and 55-year-old B.

The case concerned whether A and B had demonstrated factual circumstances, based on the statistical information on the age of the dismissed employees, which gave grounds to presume that age discrimination had taken place, with the effect that it would be incumbent on the Agency for Modernisation to prove that the principle of equal treatment had not been violated, cf. section 7a of the Danish Discrimination Act.

The Supreme Court held that statistical information on, e.g., the age of the dismissed employees and the overall age distribution of the staff could be used to assess whether discrimination could be assumed to have taken place, and that such statistical information, if reliable and sufficiently significant, may in itself give rise to an assumption of discrimination. However, the statistical information in this case did not create an assumption of discrimination, among other things based on the fact that a number of employees who were older than A and B had not been dismissed. Consequently, A and B were not entitled to compensation.

The High Court had reached the same conclusion.

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