Judgment delivered on 16 June 2016
HK/Danmark acting for A
Employers' Association of the Danish Petroleum Industry (BOA) acting for
Circle K Danmark A/S (formerly Statoil Fuel & Retail A/S)
Provision in collective agreement on lower allowance for students between the ages of 18 and 25 working part-time was not in contravention of the Anti-Discrimination Act
A was employed as a service assistant at a service station and was paid in accordance with a provision in the collective agreement between BOA and HK, according to which employees who were enrolled on a study programme that qualifies for study grants, worked for a maximum of 15 hours a week and were between the ages of 18 and 25 received a lower allowance than other employees for, among other things, evening and weekend work. On behalf of A, HK claimed that this was in contravention of the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act.
The Supreme Court found that the provision entailed direct discrimination on the grounds of age. However, according to section 5a(3) of the Anti-Discrimination Act, it is not in contravention of the Act to maintain provisions in collective agreements on age limits, provided that they are objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving the aim are appropriate and necessary.
The Supreme Court found that the unequal treatment of young part-time workers who were students under the age of 25, which was justified by the need to promote their integration into the labour market by enabling them to work during the hours when they are not studying, was objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim, and that the lower allowances were an appropriate means that did not go beyond what was necessary to achieve it.
The provision was thus not in contravention of the Anti-Discrimination Act
The Maritime and Commercial Court had come to the same conclusion.