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Discrimination generally means a difference of treatment in comparable situations without reasonable justification. However, it is not enough only to feel discriminated against – the discrimination must actually exist as conduct described and prohibited by law.
The Antidiscrimination Act stipulates inadmissible grounds for discrimination between people (e.g. sex, age, nationality, etc., see below).
Direct or indirect discrimination may exist.
Examples: a waiter in a restaurant refuses to serve a guest on grounds of his/her membership of an ethnic group; an employer in a warehouse refuses to hire a woman with the required qualification for work with the forklift truck on the grounds that they do not hire women for this work.
Examples: a restaurant prohibits entry for dogs without exceptions, whereby it prohibits entry for people with a disability who use guide dogs or assistance dogs; knowledge of the Ukrainian language is required from applicants in an advertisement for the position of general labourer in the building industry; an advertisement states: “Recruiting to join a young and dynamic team, etc.” – this a priori excludes older applicants.
In certain cases, indirect discrimination may be justified by a reasonable aim, but the means of achieving that aim must be appropriate and necessary.
Harassment (including sexual harassment), victimisation, instruction to discriminate and inciting discrimination are also considered to be discrimination.
The grounds that can be considered to be discriminatory are not arbitrary. The Antidiscrimination Act refers to race, ethnic origin, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief and opinions. Other laws also include other grounds such as property, membership of trade unions or political parties and movements, family status, etc.
The prohibition of discriminatory conduct pursuant to the Antidiscrimination Act applies in employment, business, education, social area, healthcare, the provision of goods and services, including housing, to the extent that they are offered to the public, and in public administration.
However, discrimination is also prohibited by other laws: in education, discrimination is prohibited by the Schools Act, prohibition of discrimination in employment is stipulated, for example, in the Employment Act, the Labour Code and the Service Act, discrimination in business is penalised by the Public Procurement Act, and prohibition of discrimination in the provision of goods and services is part of the Consumer Protection Act. A general and broadest prohibition of discrimination is included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
Not every injustice, disturbing situation or difference of conduct is discrimination in the sense of the Antidiscrimination Act.
For example, the following do not represent discrimination:
Furthermore, discrimination is not concerned, for example
The admissible forms of difference of treatment are also contained in other laws. The state may regulate its internal affairs provided that in doing so it does not violate human rights and freedoms or the obligations ensuing from international agreements.
For discrimination under the Antidiscrimination Act to exist, interference in human dignity must be concerned. Thus, for example, a municipality or a company cannot be discriminated against.