Monday, July 07, 2008

EC Adopts Anti-Discrimination Directive

On July 2, the European Commission announced its adoption of a proposed anti-discrimination directive that broadly prohibits discrimination on various grounds, including religion. The EC announcement read in part:

the Commission adopted a proposal for a directive which provides for protection from discrimination on grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief beyond the workplace. This new directive would ensure equal treatment in the areas of social protection, including social security and health care, education and access to and supply of goods and services which are commercially available to the public, including housing....

The law will prohibit direct and indirect discrimination as well as harassment and victimisation.... The directive will only apply to private persons in so far as they are performing their commercial activities or professional. Also, Member States will remain free to maintain measures ensuring the secular nature of the State or concerning the status and activities of religious organisations.