• In the case of Case C-13/05 Sonia Chacon Navas [2006] ECR I-6467, the European Court of Justice ruled Directive 2000/78 does not need to be extended because it expands on all the grounds of discrimination.
  • This case involved disabilities, discrimination and European Economic Community law.

Facts of the Case

  • C was granted 8 months of sick leave by her employer but was later dismissed.
  • C appealed contending that this was unlawful as per the Employment Directive 2000/78.


  • Was this unfair employment discrimination?
  • Can extended sickness fall under the Directive 2000/78?

Held by European Court of Justice

  • C’s claim dismissed – EU law does not forbid the dismissal of employment.

Judge Skouris (President)

Scope of disability

  • Sickness was not a disability thus not discrimination because the scope of disabilities is “autonomous and uniform” throughout the Community based on the principle of equality.
  • “The concept of “disability” must be understood as referring to a limitation which results in particular from physical, mental or psychological impairments and which hinders the participation of the person concerned in professional life.”
  • “There is nothing in Directive 2000/78 to suggest that workers are protected by the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of disability as soon as they develop any type of sickness”
  • Someone “who has been dismissed by his employer solely on account of sickness does not fall within the general framework laid down for combating discrimination on grounds of disability by Directive 2000/78.”

Advocate General Geelhoed

Community law and Member States

  • “It is true that fundamental rights which form an integral part of the general principles of Community law include the general principle of non-discrimination. That principle is therefore binding on Member States where the national situation at issue in the main proceedings falls within the scope of Community law.”