The General Act on Equal Treatment has been in effect in Germany for more than eight years now. The goal of the law was to prevent discrimination based on religion, gender, race or age during the hiring process. Overall, statistics show that the law has been successful in achieving those goals. The number of people over 55 and that of women with and without children in the work forces has steadily risen over the last few years. Some of that will undoubtedly be due to the rising shortage of qualified workers, but generally HR managers have taken the law to heart and there have been few problems with its application.

 

There has been a downside, though, as the right to go to court over suspected discrimination has been abused in a way that created something akin to an abuse-business. This did not happen in as bad a way as some opponents of the law had feared, but time and again courts find out over the course of a trial that an applicant had been not truly interested in getting the job, only in gaining “compensation” for not having made it. An application sent for the sole purpose of starting a court case and gaining a monetary advantage is clear-cut fraud. Generally, proving that intention is very difficult, though. In Munich, such a case has gone to court now. The public procecutor has found reason to believe that systematic abuse of such fake applications happened.

 

The defendant in the case is an attorney in Munich, charged with making a business out of the mentioned fraud. More than 20 companies report damages, while 100 more have reported attempts. For months, police have been investigating, initially starting with many more cases. However, finding proof is difficult, and often enough attempted fraud does not make it to the court, as many employers shy away from the cost and bad publicity and therefore agree to a settlement.

 

The prosecution is convinced that the defendant tried to, with the help of a family member, secure a steady income through fake applications. The court still needs to decide whether the case will be heard.

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