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October 2, 2019

ECJ: Wide scope of Directive 2006/54/EC—Equal Protection and Support for Those Discriminated Against

Deutscher Anwalt-Spiegel

This article discusses the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) 20.06.2019 preliminary ruling concerning a national regulation that restricts the protection of an employee who points to discrimination at the workplace—but is not personally affected by it—by making the employee complete certain formalities. Finding the regulation is incompatible with the equal opportunities and treatment provisions of Directive 2006/54/EC, the ruling (C-404/18—Hakelbracht, Vandenbon u. Instituut voor de Gelijkheid van Vrouwen en Mannen vs. WTG Retail) found that the employee not himself affected is nonetheless entitled to the same protection against discrimination.

Humann-Marcus says the decision sends a message that reaches far beyond the Belgian legal sphere since it brings to the fore the protection against victimisation, which has so far received little attention, even in Germany. Although the directive has already been implemented in Germany in conformity with the decision, the decision gives rise to fears that disputes concerning dismissal will be conducted in the future more strongly than previously on a discriminatory level.