Language of document :

JUDGMENT OF THE COURT

(Grand Chamber)

of 22 November 2005

in Case C-144/04 Reference for a preliminary ruling from the Arbeitsgericht München Werner Mangold v Rüdiger Helm 1

(Directive 1999/70/EC - Clauses 2, 5 and 8 of the Framework Agreement on fixed-term work - Directive 2000/78/EC - Article 6 - Equal treatment as regards employment and occupation - Age discrimination)

(Language of the case: German)

In Case C-144/04: Reference for a preliminary ruling under Article 234 EC from the Arbeitsgericht München (Germany), made by decision of 26 February 2004, received at the Court on 17 March 2004, in the proceedings pending before that court between Werner Mangold and Rüdiger Helm - the Court: (Grand Chamber) composed of P. Jann, President of the First Chamber, acting as President, C.W.A. Timmermans, A. Rosas and K. Schiemann, Presidents of Chambers, and R. Schintgen (Rapporteur), S. von Bahr, J.N. Cunha Rodrigues, R. Silva de Lapuerta, K. Lenaerts, E. Juhász, G. Arestis, A. Borg Barthet and M. Ilešič, Judges; A. Tizzano, Advocate General, K. Sztranc, Administrator, has given a judgment on 22 November 2005, the operative part of which is as follows:

1.    On a proper construction of Clause 8(3) of the Framework Agreement on fixed-term contracts concluded on 18 March 1999, put into effect by Council Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by ETUC, UNICE and CEEP, domestic legislation such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which for reasons connected with the need to encourage employment and irrespective of the implementation of that agreement, has lowered the age above which fixed-term contracts of employment may be concluded without restrictions, is not contrary to that provision.

2.    Community law and, more particularly, Article 6(1) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation must be interpreted as precluding a provision of domestic law such as that at issue in the main proceedings which authorises, without restriction, unless there is a close connection with an earlier contract of employment of indefinite duration concluded with the same employer, the conclusion of fixed-term contracts of employment once the worker has reached the age of 52.

    It is the responsibility of the national court to guarantee the full effectiveness of the general principle of non-discrimination in respect of age, setting aside any provision of national law which may conflict with Community law, even where the period prescribed for transposition of that directive has not yet expired.

____________

1 - JO C 146 of 29.5.2004.