- 19 Oct 2015
Age was not a factor when a 68-year-old social worker was dismissed. Her dismissal was based on sickness absence.
Employers are not allowed to let an employee’s age be a factor in the decision to dismiss. This principle is laid down in the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act. If an employee believes that age was nevertheless a factor in the decision to dismiss, the employee must show facts that give reason to believe that this was the case. Whether or not the employee had shown such facts was the question in this complaint before the Danish Board of Equal Treatment.
The complaint concerned a 68-year-old social worker who was dismissed for extensive sickness absence. The social worker believed that her employer, a municipality, had not acted in accordance with the sickness absence policy and had shown less understanding for her than for other and younger social workers with a high sickness absence rate. The reason for this had to be her age.
Her employer argued that the social worker’s sickness absence had increased over the years and that it put a strain on the rest of her team. She had been offered the same consultations etc. as other employees on sick leave, but the attempt to reduce her absence by various measures had been unsuccessful, among other things because there were different reasons for her periods of absence.
Age was not a factor
The Board decided in favour of the municipality, holding that the social worker had not shown any facts raising a presumption of discrimination. Nothing in the notice of dismissal or in the period leading up to the notice indicated that the social worker’s age had had anything to do with her dismissal.
Norrbom Vinding notes
- that the Board’s decision is yet another example that the mere fact that an employee who is dismissed is of a certain age is not sufficient to raise a presumption of discrimination.