Younger employees of a shoe manufacturer in Rhineland-Palatinate brought a case against their employer for giving two extra days off per year to their colleagues aged 58 and over and appealed it to the country's highest labour court.
But Germany's anti-discrimination law (AGG) allows for different treatment for workers based on their age, experience or length of service under certain conditions, the judges said.
“The employer is entitled to make judgments based on the situation in their own business,” the Federal Labout Court ruled.
A court spokesman said that this kind of differentiation would have to be decided on a case-by-case basis, as different types of work placed different strains on workers.
“The employer is within their rights to judge that workers performing physically tiring and difficult work in the shoe factory would need more time to recover after turning 58,” the judges concluded.
However, two years ago the labour court overturned a holiday allowance that increased with age included in a deal done between civil service unions and federal and local governments.
That deal was different in that it began to take effect as soon as workers turned 30.
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