If someone submits a bogus application without serious intent in response to a job advertisement, they are not entitled to demand compensation if the employer violates Germany’s Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG) [General Act on Equal Treatment].
It is increasingly common for applicants to submit an application without serious intent in response to a job advertisement in order to demand compensation for a violation of Germany’s General Act on Equal Treatment, with the term “AGG hopper” having since gained currency.
We at the law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanwälte note that employers are not allowed to violate the AGG, including in relation to job advertisements. A violation has occurred if someone is rejected on the basis of, among other things, their age, background, gender or world view. If this is the case, the person concerned may be entitled to compensation. Having said that, this only applies to applicants who seriously apply for the relevant position and are not simply after the compensation. That was the verdict of the Amtsgericht (AG) München [District Court of Munich] in its final judgment from November 24, 2016 (Az.: 173 C 8860/16).
In the instant case, an agency had arranged for a job advertisement in a newspaper. This stated, among other things, that they were looking for a “Nette weibliche Telefonstimme” [nice/friendly female telephone voice]. The only contact information cited was the firm’s telephone number. A 43-year-old man called and asked for the email address, claiming that a female friend of his wanted to apply despite personally applying for the position. Unsurprisingly, he later received notice of his rejection. He was also informed that the agency had already chosen a male employee.
The rejected applicant subsequently sued for compensation in the amount of just under 2000 euros, arguing that the job advertisement discriminated on the basis of gender. The AG München dismissed his claim.
In justifying its ruling, it held that the application lacked the necessary seriousness, noting that the application was a kind of circular letter that only made basic reference to the position in question. Furthermore, the man had already brought numerous other legal actions pertaining to the AGG and was known to the Court. Overall, the Court took the view that the man had filed improper AGG lawsuits with the intention of at least partially financing his living costs.
Unequal treatment is a common cause of legal disputes between employer and employee. Lawyers who are experienced in the field of employment law can advise on all issues relating to the workplace.