Employment and pensions

The High Court of Justice of Madrid declares null and void a dismissal on grounds of age

Published on 31st Jan 2023

The High Court of Justice of Madrid condemns a tech company in España for infringing the fundamental right to non-discrimination on grounds of age of a 58 year old employee whom it dismissed on objective grounds, and classifies the dismissal as null and void.

The Judgment of the Social Chamber, fourth section, of the High Court of Justice of Madrid of 20 October 2022 sentences the company to pay the employee 20,000 euros in compensation for the damages caused, to reinstate him in his job under the same conditions he had prior to termination, and to pay him the wages for the proceedings.

Unfair dismissal

The company notified the worker of his dismissal, on objective grounds of an organizational nature, on the basis of the need to initiate a restructuring process motivated by a fall in sales in the department where the worker provided services. According to the High Court of Justice of Madrid, the reason is not accredited, the company accepting that the dismissal was unjustified.


According to the applicable regulations, in those proceedings in which the plaintiff employee proves the existence of well-founded indications of discrimination, the burden of proof is reversed, so that it is up to the company to prove that the dismissal was not for discriminatory purposes.

The evidence on which the High Court of Justice of Madrid based its judgment is as follows:

  • The complainant employee was the only one dismissed and the oldest one on the steering committee of the Project, despite having a good evaluation in the year of his dismissal. Moreover, at the time of his dismissal, his position was filled by another younger employee who was not part of that project.
  • It has been proven that the company applies a strategy of generational change to its workforce, which consists of giving priority to hiring employees who have just completed their university degree.
  • Based on data from previous years, it has been established that employees over the age of 50 make up a proportion of about 11% of the workforce, but are dismissed at a higher rate compared to the rest of the workforce.

In short, the High Court of Justice of Madrid concludes that, on the one hand, there are no reasonable and objective causes justifying the dismissal and, on the other hand, there is sufficient evidence to affirm that the employee's age is the real cause of the dismissal. Therefore, it declared the dismissal null and void on the grounds of age discrimination, by virtue of the provisions of articles 14 of the Spanish Constitution and 55.5 of the Workers' Statute.

This ruling highlights the importance of reviewing company hiring and termination policies to ensure that they do not fall within any of the grounds for discrimination under Spanish law.



* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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