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An important exemption

November 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Norrbom Vinding Law Firm, member of ius laboris.

More articles by this firm.

Discrimination
A Danish NATO employee was not protected by the prohibition on age discrimination.
Danish military personnel are exempt from the prohibition on discrimination on grounds of age and disability by an order issued by the Danish Ministry of Defence. This is because it is important that military personnel are strong and fit for combat duty. But how far does the exemption go? This issue was considered by the Danish Board of Equal Treatment in a recent decision.
In the spring of 2010, an army employee applied for a job abroad as defence attaché, but he was not invited to interview for the job. He was very experienced after a long military career and felt he met all of the criteria listed as necessary for the job. He therefore suspected that his age had been a factor for Danish Defence in the recruitment process.
 
Not protected
The Danish Board of Equal Treatment noted in its decision that the Defence Minister is allowed under the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act to exempt military personnel on active duty from the prohibition on discrimination on grounds of age and disability.
The Board then cited the order issued by the Danish Ministry of Defence, which specifies that the exemption covers army personnel with a military rank who are employed in the Danish army or have been called up for duty.
In the Board's opinion, the army employee fell within this description and the Board therefore ruled in favour of Danish Defence. Accordingly, the Board did not address the issue of whether the army employee had been bypassed because of his age.
 
Norrbom Vinding notes:
that the decision is an important contribution to the interpretation of the scope of the Danish Ministry of Defence’s order on exemption from the prohibition on discrimination on grounds of age and disability.
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