EC employment equality rules

The Commission sent, on the 31 January 2008, reasoned opinions to 11 Member States to fully implement EU rules prohibiting discrimination in employment and occupation on the grounds of religion and belief, age, disability and sexual orientation. The countries concerned – the Czech Republic, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, France, Italy, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden – have two months to respond, failing which the Commission can decide to take them to the European Court of Justice. Also, the Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Germany and two complementary letters of formal notice to Latvia and Lithuania. The Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) was agreed in 2000 with a deadline for implementation into national law of December 2003.

Some of the main problem areas included

  • Definitions of discrimination which diverge from the Directive (in particular, in terms of indirect discrimination, harassment and instructions to discriminate).
  • Inconsistencies in the provisions designed to help victims of discrimination (such as the shift of the burden of proof, the rights of associations to assist individuals with their cases, and the protection against victimisation).
  • Lack of proper implementation of the obligation for employers to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled workers;

More information
For deails on such topics as discrimination go to this web site.