Age Discrimination: a 'too young' protected characteristic in Europe?
Age discrimination and the other protected characteristics are legislated, in the EC Treaty, as a numerus clausus of features which, despite the differences, enjoy equal status. Yet, age discrimination, unlike its counterparts, is susceptible to being ‘justified’ in force of the Framework Directive. The obscure and grey waters of law to which age discrimination has been drifting aimlessly for some time, is the subject of this paper, the ultimate purpose of which is, beyond the sociological and anthropological studies, to dissect and unearth the current inconsistencies in the European Union legislation as regards this notion and its interplay with the equality corpus iuris. As a logical outcome, the paper puts forward suggestions for amendments to the current Framework Directive so that its tenor can be aligned to the Treaty where, be this construct ontologically correct or not, there is no suggestion that a ranking of protected characteristics should be adopted. Furthermore and more intriguingly, the contribution advances a more radical proposal, ergo the reform of the Framework Directive so that this protected characteristic, in so many cases unsuccessfully pursued vis-à-vis the national courts, be ultimately shaped in a binary way, therefore ‘old age discrimination’, so that its ‘promotion’ to the ‘premier league’ of protected characteristics can thereupon be realised.
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