Written by Georgia Roberts and

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A Dutchman has asked a court in the Netherlands to lower his age by 20 years.

Wishful thinking or closer to reality than we think? There may well be a day when we stare into the mirror after a few late nights out and think, if only…..?

Well, a 69-year-old is taking on the law and arguing that he is being subjected to age discrimination which is hindering his future employment prospects as well as preventing him from attracting his target audience on Tinder! The man has said that he should be allowed to change his age as doctors have told him that he has the body of a 45-year-old. He has pointed out that the government would benefit from this change as he would renounce his pension until he reached retirement age…..again!

The Netherlands’ constitution expressly prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of age, but the man claims that no company wants to employ a “pensioner”. And of course, the question is, if people can legally change their gender, why not their age? The judge had some sympathy for this argument, conceding that gender transformation would have once been unthinkable, but is becoming a norm in modern societies.

Despite this, the court questioned what would become of the man’s “lost years”, if he were able to legally delete 20 years of his life? This engages a number of important questions as to the impact of people changing their age. What would happen if a parent changed their age making them younger than their children? Would individuals be required to re-take their driving test, be prevented from drinking alcohol or have to retake mandatory exams if their new date of birth reclassified them as a teenager? The list is endless and somewhat scary!

From an employment perspective, would winding back the clock allow people to delete periods of their career from their CV? How would this affect transparency in employment and the ability to gain accurate references? What would happen to a person’s hospital records, dental records, pension or perhaps any criminal convictions obtained during the years that they seek to delete?

And what about changing your age upwards? Just as our 69 year old wants to access dating services, there may be those that want to get into a nightclub, drive an HGV or get lower car insurance with their added years? Although we say age is just a number, it seems changing that number is perhaps far more controversial and complex than changing gender, and whilst it may just about work for Tinder, there seems to be a raft of serious issues to be addressed for a wholesale change in the legislation.

The court in this case is expected to issue a ruling in the first week of December in which we hope and look forward to some of these questions being answered!

21st November 2018