In the recent case of Ypourgos Ethnikis Pedias kai Thriskevmaton v. Kalliri, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) held that the requirement for candidates for the Greek police academy to be at least 170cm tall amounted to indirect sex discrimination which could not be objectively justified.
In this case, a woman applied to the Greek police academy but was rejected because she was only 168cm tall. The ECJ held that having a required height for all applicants “constitutes indirect sex discrimination since it works to the disadvantage of far more women than men”.
The ECJ acknowledged that ensuring the operational capacity and proper functioning of the police force constitutes a legitimate aim. However, it could not agree with the Greek government that maintaining a certain physical aptitude was an appropriate way of achieving that aim, as there are many functions within the police force that do not require such physical attributes, such as traffic control. Further, even if it was the case that all functions required certain physical capabilities, this would not necessarily be determined by an individual’s height and could instead be tested in a different way. Therefore, the height requirement imposed was in breach of the Equal Treatment Directive and could not be justified.
To see the full judgment, follow this link.