In a 9 February 2022 judgment,(1) the Supreme Court had to determine whether the termination of an employment agreement with a female employee for announcing her upcoming marriage constituted discrimination in accordance with article 14 of the Constitution.

In the case at hand, a female employee had been dismissed several days after announcing her plans to get married. Although she was on a short-term contract, the company had told her that the project she was assigned to was due to end three years later.

Her contract was terminated, and she filed a dismissal claim.

The court of first instance partially upheld the claim and declared the dismissal as unfair. The court decided that the dismissal was unfair rather than null and void as the right to marry is not included under the section on fundamental rights and public liberties of the Constitution.

Dissatisfied with the decision of the court of first instance, the employee filed an appeal with the High Court of Justice of Galicia, which upheld the appeal and declared the dismissal as null and void on the basis of discriminatory treatment, ordering the company to reinstate the employee and to pay out compensation amounting to €15,000.

The company filed an appeal against this judgment with the Supreme Court for the unification of doctrine. The company argued in the appeal that, even if the dismissal of the employee was in response to her decision to get married, this would not lead to a null and void dismissal as it is not a fundamental right.

However, the Supreme Court pointed out that the circumstances provided for in the Constitution that described discriminatory situations was not a closed list; article 14 establishes that citizens cannot be discriminated against due to "any other personal or social status or circumstance".

Considering the above, the Supreme Court understood that, although article 14 of the Constitution does not specifically include marital status as one of the circumstances against which discriminatory treatment is prohibited, there is no direct exclusion, and it is an open list.

Moreover, the choice of marital status is inherent to the principle of human dignity and freedom (article 10 of the Constitution).

The Court concluded that the marriage of an employee could not lead to such a detrimental consequence as dismissal.

The Supreme Court considered that the dismissal was null and void as it arose from the announcement made by the employee on her decision to get married. Ultimately, this constituted discriminatory treatment in violation of article 14 of the Constitution. Therefore, the company's appeal was rejected and the judgment issued by the Hight Court was confirmed.

For further information on this topic please contact Elena Esparza or Guillermo García at CMS Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo by telephone (+34 91 451 9300) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The CMS Albiñana & Suarez de Lezo website can be accessed at


(1) ECLI: ES:TS:2022:385.