Judgement of the Court of Justice in the case Sabine Mayr (C-506/06), on social policy
End production: 26/02/2008 First transmission: 26/02/2008
The Court of Justice of the EC ruled that Austrian former waitress Sabine Mayr could not be covered by EU laws protecting pregnant women when her employer fired her, even though two of her eggs had been fertilized two days before and were implanted three days after the dismissal. However, while the laws on protecting pregnant women do not cover Mayr's case, laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender do. The court said that in vitro fertilization treatment "affects only women" and the dismissal of a woman because she is undergoing such treatment "constitutes direct discrimination on grounds of sex".
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the Court of Justice of the EC
||General atmosphere in the court room (3 shots)
||Judges entering the court room
||Vassilios Skouris, President of the Court of Justice of the EC, (in GERMAN) reading the judgement of the court;
saying that for reasons connected with the principle of legal certainty, the protection against dismissal established by the Directive on the safety and health at work of pregnant workers cannot be extended to a pregnant worker where, on the date she is given notice of her dismissal, the in vitro fertilised ova have not yet been transferred into her uterus; if such a premiss were allowed, the benefit of the protection could be granted even where the transfer of the fertilised ova into the uterus is postponed, for whatever reason, for a number of years, or even where such a transfer is definitively abandoned;
however, a worker who is undergoing in vitro fertilisation treatment can rely on the protection against discrimination on grounds of sex granted by the Directive on equal treatment for men and women; on that basis, the Court points out that treatment such as that which Ms Mayr has undergone directly affects only women; the dismissal of a worker essentially because she is undergoing a follicular puncture and a transfer of fertilised ova into her uterus therefore constitutes direct discrimination on grounds of sex; the dismissal of a worker, in a situation such as that of Ms Mayr, would, moreover, be contrary to the objective of protection pursued by the Directive on equal treatment for men and women;
the Oberster Gerichtshof must now determine whether the dismissal of Ms Mayr was, indeed, essentially based on the fact that she was undergoing in vitro fertilisation treatment
||General views, in the court room (5 shots)