Equinet Newsbook - December 2016

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Making Europe more Equal: A Legal Duty?

Postive Duties: This study examines and analyses the design and implementation of statutory duties in equal treatment legislation that aim to go beyond a prohibition on discrimination to promote equality. These encompass preventive duties, institutional duties and mainstreaming duties. The study explores and assesses the role of, and engagement by, equality bodies in their implementation. Read more..

Innovating at the Intersections. Equality bodies tackling intersectional discrimination

Intersectionality: The different grounds covered by equal treatment legislation intersect. People hold more than one of the personal characteristics that are used in defining each of the different grounds of gender, gender identify, age, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief or disability. This Perspective aims to set out the contribution of equality bodies to intersectionality issues, as well as suggesting ways forward to further developing this work in the future. Read more..

Recent Equinet Events

Race and Ethnic Origin:  Equinet Seminar - Fighting discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin, Budapest, 9-10 November 2016 - Summary and presentations here...
Intersectionaly:  Equinet Conference - Diverse, Inclusive and Equal: Innovating at the Intersections of Gender Equality, Brussels, 7 December 2016 - Presentations here...

Members News

Luxembourg: Celebrating 10 years of equal treatment legislation

Anniversary: The Centre for Equal Treatment (CET) organised a seminar to celebrate 10 years of equal treatment legislation in Luxembourg on 28 November 2016. Equinet was honoured to participate and be invited to contribute to this event.  Read more..

Finland: Access to fertility treatment has to be granted on an equal basis 

Sexual Orientation: The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman of Finland is satisfied with the ruling of the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal. According to this ruling, assisted reproductive treatment may not be denied in public health care based on the sexual orientation of the client. The ruling shows that existing legal protections provide access to rights. It also ensures that the recommendation issued earlier by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will be followed from now on. The Tribunal imposed a conditional fine of 30,000 euro to each of the medical directors of university hospitals to enforce compliance with its injunction.  Read more..

Lithuania: Amendments of law on equal treatment increase independence for Ombudsperson

Standards: On 8 November, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania enacted the amendment of the Law on Equal Treatment that introduces the highest standards of independence for the equality body in Lithuania. Amendments were initiated by the Office of Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and will come into force from 1 January 2017. Read more..

Northern Ireland: Investigation into pregnancy and maternity at work

Gender Equality: Half of the women who responded to an Equality Commission investigation into the employment experiences of pregnant workers and mothers in Northern Ireland believe that their career opportunities have been negatively affected by their pregnancy or maternity leave. That is one of the findings of ‘Expecting Equality: a Formal Investigation under the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1976’, carried out by Equality Commission for Northern Ireland. Read more..

UK: An employer's guide to religion or belief in the workplace

Religion or Belief: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published the final products from its three-year programme of work on religion or belief. These consist of three documents:

  • Religion or belief – is the law working?, an evaluation of the effectiveness of the religion or belief legal framework;
  • online guidance for employers on key religion or belief topics;
  • and online training modules on religion or belief for line managers (developed with ACAS) and union managers (developed with the TUC).

EU News

European Commission to launch call with priority to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation

Sexual Orientation: On 17 January, the European Commission will open a call for proposals for action grants to support national or transnational projects on non-discrimination. In this call, the Commission wishes to support activities which tackle at least one of the following groups at risk of discrimination: racial or ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities, older/younger people, religious minorities and LGBTI people. With over 2 Million euros dedicated to the latter, particular priority will be given to awareness raising and dissemination projects in the Member States with particular needs and lower levels of social acceptance of LGBTI people. Cooperation of national authorities, equality bodies and non-governmental organisations is strongly encouraged!   Read more..

European Parliament adopts report on the situation of Fundamental Rights in the EU in 2015

Fundamental Rights: On 14 December, the European Parliament adopted its annual report on the situation of Fundamental Rights in the EU. The report assesses the situation of Fundamental Rights in accordance with the standards of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in areas such as gender equality, LGBTI rights, xenophobia and rights of persons with disabilities. Read more..

European Equality Law Review 2016/2

Antidiscrimination: The fourth issue of the biannual European equality law review, produced by the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discriminatino (EELN) highlights a number of different legal and policy developments from across Europe are raised. As well as European case law updates and key developments at national level in legislation, case law and policy, there are a number of very interesting articles on:
  • using anti-discrimination remedies for discrimination speech,
  • implementation of postive action measures for achieving gender equality,
  • merging mandates of equality bodies and national human rights institutions,
  • as well as concepts of sex and gender in EU non-discrimination law and policies. 

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights: Publications

Race & Ethnic Origin: Widespread deprivation is destroying Roma lives. Families are living excluded from society in shocking conditions, while children with little education face bleak prospects for the future, a new report from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows. The report analyses the gaps in Roma inclusion around the EU to guide Member States seeking to improve their integration policies. Read more..

Hate Crime: Arson attacks, violence, even murder, and everyday harassment are just some of the worrying hate crime incidents flagged in the latest summary report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on migration-related fundamental rights in selected EU Member States. It points to tension and hostility towards migrants and asylum seekers, underscoring the need for concerted EU and Member State action in line with fundamental rights. Read more..

Antisemitism: This latest report, Antisemitism: Summary overview of data available in the European Union 2005–2015, reveals large gaps in data collection on antisemitism in EU Member States, as previous overviews also noted. In addition, each Member State collects different types of data, preventing any meaningful comparison of the data collected. Read more..

Gender, age, ethnicity, migrant background & disability can increase poverty & social exclusion

Gender and Poverty: More women and men are living on the edge of poverty and social exclusion today compared to 2010, according to a new study by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Young people, lone parents, migrants, people with disabilities and families with three or more children are most at risk of poverty. 
Read more..

Court of Justice of the European Union: Case Law

Sexual Orientation: Case C‑443/15, David L. Parris v Trinity College Dublin and Others, 24 November 2016. The European Court of Justice dismissed a claim by Dr David Parris of unfair treatment on the grounds of sex and age discrimination by Trinity College Dublin over its pension rules that prevent his same-sex partner of more than 30 years from accessing a ‘survivor’s pension’ in the event of his death. The judgement is accessible here.

Disability: Case C395/15, Mohamed Daouidi v Bootes Plus SL, Fondo de Garantía Salarial, Ministerio Fiscal, 1st December 2016. The Court was asked to interpret Directive 2000/78/EC and to examine whether a worker who is temporarily unable to work for an indeterminate period of time due to a work accident could be qualified as a person with disability under the Directive and therefore protected from discriminatory dismissal. The judgment is accessible here.

Nationality: Advocate General Opinion (AG Nils Wahl) in Case C-668/15, Jyske Finans A/S v Ligebehandlingsnævnet, acting on behalf of Ismar Huskic, 1 December 2016. In an appeal case against the decision of the Danish Equal Treatment Board (an Equinet member equality body), the Court is to consider whether a practice of a credit institution is discriminatory under Directive 2000/43/EC. The credit institution requires that customers, whose driving licence indicates a place of birth that is not a part of an EU Member State or an EFTA State produce a passport issued by one of those countries or, failing that, to produce a passport and a valid residence permit. In the Advocate General’s Opinion (accessible here) this practice does not constitute discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin.
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