Law and Legislation
European Law: Anti-discrimination directives
Anti-discrimination directivesFor many years the focus of EU action in the field of non-discrimination was on preventing discrimination on the grounds of nationality and sex (NB: The European Commission refers to sex discrimination as 'gender' discrimination). In 1997, however, the Member States approved unanimously the Treaty of Amsterdam. Article 13 of this new Treaty granted the Community new powers to combat discrimination on the grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Since the Treaty of Amsterdam came into force in 1999, new EC laws, or Directives, that have been enacted in the area of anti-discrimination are the Racial Equality Directive, 2000/43/EC, and the Employment Equality Directive, 2000/78/EC. Council Directive 2000/43/EC implements the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, and Council Directive 2000/78/EC establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.
The principle rules laid down in the two Directives are as follows:
The Racial Equality Directive 2000/43/EC
- Implements the principle of equal treatment between people irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.
- Gives protection against discrimination in employment and training, education, social protection (including social security and healthcare), social advantages, membership and involvement in organisations of workers and employers and access to goods and services, including housing.
- Contains definitions of direct and indirect discrimination and harassment and prohibits the instruction to discriminate and victimisation.
- Allows for positive action measures to be taken, in order to ensure full equality in practice.
- Gives victims of discrimination a right to make a complaint through a judicial or administrative procedure, associated with appropriate penalties for those who discriminate.
- Allows for limited exceptions to the principle of equal treatment, for example in cases where a difference in treatment on the ground of race or ethnic origin constitutes a genuine occupational requirement.
- Shares the burden of proof between the complainant and the respondent in civil and administrative cases, so that once an alleged victim establishes facts from which it may be presumed that there has been discrimination, it is for the respondent to prove that there has been no breach of the equal treatment principle.
- Provides for the establishment in each Member State of an organisation to promote equal treatment and provide independent assistance to victims of racial discrimination.
The Employment Equality Directive 2000/78/EC
- Implements the principle of equal treatment in employment and training irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in employment, training and membership and involvement in organisations of workers and employers.
- Includes identical provisions to the Racial Equality Directive on definitions of discrimination and harassment, the prohibition of instruction to discriminate and victimisation, on positive action, rights of legal redress and the sharing of the burden of proof.
- Requires employers to make reasonable accommodation to enable a person with a disability who is qualified to do the job in question to participate in training or paid labour.
- Allows for limited exceptions to the principle of equal treatment, for example, where the ethos of a religious organisation needs to be preserved, or where an employer legitimately requires an employee to be from a certain age group to be recruited.
Please read the Glossary Terms from: http://www.dpiap.org/resources/pdf/Glossary_terms_10_02_18.pdf
Please read How European Community law operates from: http://www.dpiap.org/resources/pdf/Law_pour_10_02_18.pdf
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