• In the case of Mangold v Helm [2005] ECR i-9981, equal treatment in respect to employment and occupation, as well as age was explored. This case also concerned the doctrine of direct effect.

Facts of Case C-144/04 Mangold v Helm [2005] ECR i-9981

  • German law imposed that fixed-term contracts were unlawful unless there was an objectively justifiable use for them
  • However this protection was excluded for those over 52 years of age after reducing from 60 and then 58
  • Mr Mangold, 56, finished an employment contract with Mr Held; he challenged the validity of Germany’s choice to reduce the age, believing it to infringe the prohibited age discrimination principle
  • This case was referred the European Court of Justice

Issues in Case C-144/04 Mangold v Helm [2005] ECR i-9981

  • Was the German law valid? Or,
  • Was national law invalid as it infringed the principle of equal treatment through discrimination of age?

Held by the European Court of Justice

The German law infringed the principle of equal treatment in regard to age under EU law, and thus the law was invalid.

Findings of the court

Stating the importance of non-discriminatory grounds in this context:

  • “in accordance with Article 1 thereof, the sole purpose of the directive is ‘to lay down a general framework for combating discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation’, the source of the actual principle underlying the prohibition of those forms of discrimination being found, as is clear from the third and fourth recitals in the preamble to the directive, in various international instruments and in the constitutional traditions common to the Member States.” [74]
  • “The principle of non-discrimination on grounds of age must thus be regarded as a general principle of Community law” [75]

Establishing the superiority of EU law and the application of direct effect

  • “it is the responsibility of the national court, hearing a dispute involving the principle of non-discrimination in respect of age, to provide, in a case within its jurisdiction, the legal protection which individuals derive from the rules of Community law and to ensure that those rules are fully effective, setting aside any provision of national law which may conflict with that law” [77]