Law and Legislation

European Law: Anti-discrimination directives

Anti-discrimination directives

For 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

The Employment Equality Directive 2000/78/EC

Please read the Glossary Terms from:

Please read How European Community law operates from:


Mail from: Frank Mulcahy

When: 7/2/2014

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