In the present case, a severely disabled technician applied for a job offered by a public employer. He indicated his disability in the application. The employer did not invite the severely disabled person to an interview and employed another candidate. Thereupon, the rejected applicant sued the employer for compensation in the amount of three times the monthly salary due for the position he applied for. The rejected applicant based his claim on the allegation that the employer discriminated against him on grounds of his disability, by not inviting him to an interview.
For public employers, there is a statutory obligation under German law to invite a severely disabled applicant to a job interview. In August 2016, the German Federal Employment Court ruled that, already, the fact that the public employer violated this obligation by not inviting the severely disabled candidate to a job interview, gave reason for the presumption that the applicant was not considered in the application process, because of his disability. Pursuant to the court, an exception to the statutory obligation for public employers of inviting severely disabled applicants to a job interview may only be made if the applicant obviously lacks the professional qualifications required for the position. This was not the case here. The court awarded compensation in the amount of one monthly salary to the rejected applicant, as it considered compensation in this amount reasonable, based on the concrete circumstances. Considering the risk of having to pay compensation to a rejected applicant, public employers should generally always invite severely disabled applicants to a job interview.
For private employers, there is no statutory obligation to invite severely disabled applicants to an interview. However, a rejected applicant may still claim compensation if his/her application was rejected due to the disability.
Therefore, applications of severely disabled persons should always be reviewed carefully and a rejection needs to be based on non-discriminatory criteria. Hence, it can be beneficial to invite the applicant to an interview in order to gain more insight with regard to his/her qualifications.