The Employment Equality Directive: European Implementation Assessment

05-02-2016

The adoption of the Employment Equality Directive in 2000 extended the protection against discrimination provided under EU law. By explicitly obliging the Member States to prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation, the general principles set out in the Treaties became more effective, and some minimum standards are now common throughout Europe. At the same time, specific exceptions with regard to all or only some of those grounds permit the continuation of certain measures that were already in place in most countries, which has led to different national practices, especially with regard to age. Additional provisions on horizontal issues such as access to justice and sanctions, dissemination of information and necessary dialogue, left the details to be established by Member States according to their laws and customs. This analysis builds on the available documents and expertise in order to facilitate the debate on the implementation of the Employment Equality Directive to date and on how best to follow it up.

The adoption of the Employment Equality Directive in 2000 extended the protection against discrimination provided under EU law. By explicitly obliging the Member States to prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion or belief, age, disability and sexual orientation, the general principles set out in the Treaties became more effective, and some minimum standards are now common throughout Europe. At the same time, specific exceptions with regard to all or only some of those grounds permit the continuation of certain measures that were already in place in most countries, which has led to different national practices, especially with regard to age. Additional provisions on horizontal issues such as access to justice and sanctions, dissemination of information and necessary dialogue, left the details to be established by Member States according to their laws and customs. This analysis builds on the available documents and expertise in order to facilitate the debate on the implementation of the Employment Equality Directive to date and on how best to follow it up.