Heard the one about the fireman and the dentist? These were the professions under consideration by the ECJ in 2 German cases relating to the setting of age limits for workers. In the first case, Wolf v Stadt Franfurt am Main, the ECJ decided that it was lawful to have a maximum age limit for recruits wanting to join the service. In the circumstances of the case, it was held that an age limit of 30 was not unlawful age discrimination because it could be justified.

The second case is that of Petresen v Berufungsasschuss fur Zahnarzte fur den Berirk Westfalen-Lippe where the ECJ considered whether it was age discrimination for the German Government to require dentists in the German National Health Service to retire at 68. It concluded that setting an age cap limit of 68 for National Health Service dentists was possible to justify where the local labour market required it. Therefore, where there were not enough opportunities for younger workers because the job market was saturated, an upper age limit of 68 could be justified in the interests of allowing entry to the market for younger workers.