A Supreme Court ruling issued last year has recently created expectations in the business world. The matter was originated when a company from the restaurant business published two job offers, one for the position of receptionist, establishing as requirements age from 18 to 25, female gender, excellent appearance, height 1.60 mts. and size 30; the second, for the position of event planner, stating as requirements age from 18 to 35, being a young and cheerful woman and excellent appearance. Many people sued the company for morale damage, as they considered the job advertisements as discriminatory for establishing an age range in order to apply for the job. Several authorities ruled on this matter stating there were no moral damages resulting from such invitations, until the matter finally was brought to the Supreme Court of Justice.
In its ruling, the First Chamber of the Supreme Court determined that the job advertisements were unconstitutional due to the following:
a) The right to non-discrimination must be honored by authorities and citizens. Despite their freedom to hire, employers should refrain from discriminating when selecting personnel, allocating work shifts and establishing conduct and discipline provisions in the workplace.
b) It is not possible to generalize about physical and mental skills based on age, because it is a very individualized factor. Advanced age does not necessarily mean less employment productivity, because this would imply making social stereotypes.
c) In many cases, being older reflects in a high productivity level, precision and a steady productivity level; therefore, abilities and skills may not be generalized based on age, but rather these factors depend on individual evaluations, and not on prejudices. Reaching a given age does not necessarily mean the loss of certain skills for work, as age also implies the accumulation of experience and knowledge that may become more valuable.
d) Setting an age limit in a work offer is directed to obtaining a sexist, commercial image, which the First Chamber considered was multiple discrimination.
e) Age is a justified element for the employer to make the decision only when due to the nature of the activity, or the context within which it will be performed. This factor is an essential and determining requirement to perform such activity.