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«THE EUROPEAN NETWORK OF LEGAL EXPERTS IN THE FIELD OF GENDER EQUALITY Multiple Discrimination in EU Law Opportunities for legal responses to ...»

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6. Effects of legislation and case law in practice As a part of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, the NAEO as implementing agency subcontracted two entities, namely the Romanian Society for Feminist Analysis (AnA133) and the National Institute for Scientific Research in the Field of Labour and Social Protection (hereafter referred to as NISRLSP)134 to conduct a study on multiple discrimination in Romania. The study was finalized and published in 2008 (hereafter referred to as 2008 Study on MDR). The aim of the report was to investigate to which extent multiple discrimination represents a reality in Romania, to clarify theoretical perspectives of approaching the concept of multiple discrimination and to identify any population groups with a high risk of multiple NCCD public position cited in the 2008 Study on Multiple Discrimination in Romania, available at http://www.incsmps.ro/documente/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20discriminare_final_print.pdf p. 38, accessed on 19 February 2009.

Exhaustive information on case law of the NCCD cannot be provided. The NCCD website contains no information under the section of ‘Decisions’. See http://www.cncd.org.ro/decisions/, accessed on 21 February 2009. Information on relevant case law is obtained based on data from 2007 NCCD Annual Report.

Non-governmental organization whose mandate is to promote the position of women in Romania.

State structure coordinated by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Social Protection.

Multiple Discrimination in EU Law 111 discrimination. While the full report is available in electronic format on the NISRLSP website,135 the main findings were also made public. The preliminary findings published on the NAEO website136 state that 10.9 % of the individuals who were in a situation of differential treatment/discrimination in the last three years were aware that the treatment they were subjected to was determined by at least two criteria of discrimination.

Also, findings of the 2008 Study on MDR reveal that the population groups most vulnerable to multiple discrimination in Romania are represented by women with different social characteristics such as: Roma women, women over 40 and women from rural areas.137 The same study reveals that ‘Several categories of women, characterised by another identity than only that of being a woman, like being Roma, old or poor, are the groups most exposed to discriminatory acts in public places, as well as when accessing public services such as education, health services and in contacts with local public authorities. Hospitals and health centres are perceived to be the most discriminatory public places’.138 Moreover, ‘at the intersection of gender and age, the research clearly showed that several groups are perceived or self-perceived to be extremely vulnerable to discrimination: young and old men compared to women of the same ages are more exposed to discrimination when applying for jobs, but young and older women are vulnerable to discrimination in the workplace, facing barriers to advancing in their career and in access to training and professional development. Women with children compared to men with children are more subject to discrimination or suffer specific forms of discrimination, both in terms of access to jobs and in the workplace. Also, women that belong to ethnic minorities in Romania suffer specific forms of discrimination on the labour market, and are more often subject to discrimination both compared to men of the same minority and to Romanian women’.139 In terms of the population’s awareness of legislative provisions to protect the victims of discrimination, the 2008 Study on MDR reveals that 49 % of the population knows about their existence, 24 % is convinced that in Romania there is no legislation for combating discrimination, and 26 % does not know if there are such laws.

Women, individuals aged 50 and older, and Roma people are the groups with the lowest level of awareness with respect to the existence of laws combating discrimination in Romania. These are also the groups that are most often victims of discrimination.

The lower the level of education among the respondents, the lower the level of awareness of anti-discrimination legislation existing in Romania. Thus, 17.6 % of the people that do not know about the anti-discrimination legal mechanisms have no education, while 26.1 % only have basic education. The people with no education or basic education represent an extremely vulnerable group on the labour market, especially because discrimination that occurs when trying to access jobs could be easily masked behind the argument that the applicant’s level of education is unsatisfactory.

http://www.incsmps.ro/documente/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20discriminare_final_print.pdf, accessed 21 February 2009.

NAEO website, http://www.anes.ro/raport2007/p5.htm, accessed 20 February 2009.

2008 Study on Multiple Discrimination in Romania, available at http://www.incsmps.ro/documente/ Microsoft%20Word%20-%20discriminare_final_print.pdf, page 46, accessed 21 February 2009.

2008 Study on Multiple Discrimination in Romania, available at http://www.incsmps.ro/documente/ Microsoft%20Word%20-%20discriminare_final_print.pdf, page 160, accessed 21 February 2009.

2008 Study on Multiple Discrimination in Romania, available at http://www.incsmps.ro/documente/ Microsoft%20Word%20-%20discriminare_final_print.pdf, page 160, accessed 21 February 2009.

112 Multiple Discrimination in EU Law

7. Role of equality bodies The NCCD is the public authority of the State that rules in matters of discrimination and has the mandate to deal with all forms of discrimination on every ground, including sex, race or ethnic origin, nationality, religion, disability, sexual orientation.

The Council is responsible for the application and observation of the provisions of the 2000 Anti-Discrimination Act in its field of activity, as well as the harmonization of provisions from normative and administrative acts that violate the principle of nondiscrimination. NCCD exercises its legal authority based on petitions and complaints from natural or legal persons or takes action ex officio. The Council solves the complaints and petitions submitted through decisions of its Steering Board.

Currently, the NCCD does not deal with multiple-discrimination cases by considering multiple discrimination as representing an intersection of several grounds of discrimination. If an investigation reveals the existence of more grounds of discrimination, these are simply combined in terms of sanctions.

8. Reinforcement of legal approach at EU level necessary?

Reinforcement of the legal approach aimed at combating multiple discrimination at EU and national level is highly necessary. multiple discrimination shall be approached as a necessary step for further substantiation of a more complex way to discriminate.

Where social reality is becoming more and more dynamic and complex, so are the forms of discrimination. Reinforcing the legal approach on multiple discrimination at EU level will represent a very important signal to the Member States that this concept is no longer a purely theoretical and sophisticated one, but a concept in need of being made operational within the national legal frameworks.

9. Community-law definition of multiple discrimination necessary?

A community-law definition of multiple discrimination would not only further strengthen the existing legal protection at EU level and in Romania regarding genderrelated multiple discrimination, but it would also leave room for a minimum to be required in terms of transposing it into the national legal framework.

10. Available literature or research?

There is one very complex and important piece of research on multiple


– Multiple Discrimination in Romania, 176 pages, Romanian Society for Feminist Analysis (AnA) and National Institute for Scientific Research in the Field of Labour and Social Protection, 2008.

While the whole study is only available in Romanian, an executive summary of 15 pages is also available in English.

SLOVAKIA – Zuzana Magurová

1. Concept of multiple discrimination in legislation There is no legislation explicitly defining the term of multiple (cumulative) discrimination. The Antidiscrimination Act140 (Antidiskriminačný zákon) stipulates Act No. 365/2004 Coll. on Equal Treatment in Certain Areas and on Protection against Discrimination and on the amendment of certain acts (Antidiscrimination Act), as amended by Constitutional Court decision No. 539/2005 Coll. of Laws, Act No. 326/2007 Coll. of Laws and Act No. 85/2008 Coll. of Laws.

Multiple Discrimination in EU Law 113 the different grounds of discrimination, but it does not exclude the application of the definition in cases where several grounds are accumulated.

During the preparation of the amendment to the Antidiscrimination Act from 2008, the representative of NGOs proposed that the explicit definition of multiple discrimination should be included in the amended act, but the Government rejected this proposal.

2. Case law At present, only a small number of court decisions concerning cases of gender discrimination is known. None of them include multiple discrimination.

In some cases, the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights as Equality Body represented the injured parties – Romany women who were discriminated at work on the ground of both their gender and ethnic origin. However, in all cases it based the formulation of the action for breach of the principle of equal treatment on the racial ground only.

3. Any cases where gender-related discrimination is overlooked?

Most of the court decisions concern cases involving discrimination on the ground of race, particularly in the area of supply of services and access to employment. The citizens’ association Poradňa that specializes in litigation and represented the clients in many of such cases always strategically concentrated on one of the grounds, because this provided a larger chance of success. Another reason was the effort in the most economic proceedings, as well as the fact that courts are ‘more inclined’ to decide on racial discrimination than on gender discrimination.

4. Proof and procedural problems The implementation of antidiscrimination legislation still causes some courts major problems, although there are organisations, particularly non-government ones, that offer special training devoted to antidiscrimination legislation for lawyers, including judges.

5. Description of a specific caseThere is no such case.

6. Effects of legislation and case law in practice No specialized discussion devoted to the issues of multiple discrimination has taken place yet. The author has no publication, study or official research into this subject available.

There are no specific strategies aimed at multiple discrimination, at the level of both the ministries and the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights as Equality Body. At present, the Government is preparing the document ‘Basis of National Strategy on Gender Equality 2009-2013’, where it only states the need of solution of the problem of multiple discrimination of women and men without any further specification of any particular measures.

No research or monitoring of cases of multiple discrimination has been implemented in Slovakia.

114 Multiple Discrimination in EU Law The NGOs described the problem of multiple discrimination, particularly of Romany women, in the shadow report to the CEDAW Committee,141 which contains a special chapter devoted to Romany women.

This year, some NGOs have started a cooperation on the project ‘Observance of Human Rights in Segregated Settlements’, which is devoted to discrimination on the ground of ethnic origin and gender and to social exclusion.

7. Role of equality bodies The amendments to the Antidiscrimination Act have extended the tasks of the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights to the elaboration and publication of reports and recommendations on the questions related to discrimination and to the conduct of independent surveys of discrimination, not only in cases of racial discrimination, but also in cases of gender discrimination. In spite of this, the activities of the Centre are still characterized by several weaknesses that constitute an obstacle to a more effective protection of human rights and the enforcement of gender equality. In reality, the capacities of the Centre, particularly in the number of experts on gender equality and its budget have not been extended. Since its establishment, the Centre has actually lacked a long-term strategy for the comprehensive and systematic protection of human rights. It was not profiled as an entity addressing the burning issues and actively enforcing a significant improvement of the situation in the area of gender equality. This is obvious particularly from the Report on the Observance of Human rights in the Slovak Republic 2007, which particularly lacked clear attitudes of the Centre to some of the described cases of infringement of human rights and more specific recommendations for the area of legislation and public policies.

8. Reinforcement of legal approach at EU level necessary?

Experiences of several women’s NGOs prove the existence of multiple discrimination of Romany women and women belonging to national minorities. They are described in more detail in the shadow report to CEDAW.

To improve the situation at both the European and the national level, it will not be sufficient to explicitly define the term of multiple discrimination in legislation, but it particularly requires the elaboration of a specific strategy aimed at gender discrimination of Romany women and women belonging to the groups that are exposed to discrimination on other grounds.

9. Community-law definition of multiple discrimination necessary?

It may be stated that, like in other cases, our government will not be willing to strengthen the protection against multiple discrimination, unless it is pushed to do so by having to implement European legislation into national law. The courts will then be allowed to decide on the basis of the explicit legal regulations.

10. Available literature or research?

No literature or research available.

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