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Greek government falls short with discriminatory height requirement for police

The ECJ has held in Ypourgos Ethnikis Pedias kai Thriskevmaton v Kalliri that a minimum height requirement of 170cm imposed by the Greek Government for men and women wishing to join the police force, amounted to indirect sex discrimination and could not be objectively justified.

The case concerned a women who applied to the Greek police academy, however was rejected as she was only 168cm tall, falling 2cm short of the Government’s 170cm minimum height requirement. The ECJ held that having a required height for all applicants “constitutes indirect sex discrimination since it works to the disadvantage of far more women than men.”

The ECJ held that having a required height for all applicants “constitutes indirect sex discrimination since it works to the disadvantage of far more women than men.

The ECJ additionally stated that the minimum height requirement could not be justified on the basis of being “either appropriate or necessary for the objective it had purported to achieve”, namely ensuring that aspiring police officers had the physical capability for the job. The Court did however note that specific tests of candidates’ physical ability could be used instead of height limit, for example various fitness tests for candidates.

This case serves as a reminder to employers that any restrictions which cannot be objectively justified may amount to indirect discrimination.

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