European Parliament Committee rejects report on discrimination at work

The European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs has just rejected a draft report on discrimination at work, judging it was imbalanced and weakly worded.

Elisabeth Schroedter MEPThe Committee had taken the initiative of reporting on the implementation of Directive 2000/78, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation at work across the European Union.

The EPP (centre-right) Rapporteur, Ádám Kósa MEP, had put forward a draft report focusing almost exclusively on the jurisprudence of the EU Court of Justice on the one hand, and on disability on the other hand.

Other political groups, including the Greens/EFA and the Socialists and Democrats, found the report was skewed towards disability issues, and made weak demands to the European Commission and Member States to address pitfalls in how the law is implemented.

Despite amendments from several groups, the final result remained too weak for the two groups to support. It was rejected with 17 votes in favour and 19 against.

Elisabeth Schroedter MEP, Greens/EFA spokeswoman for this report, explained: “We considered a red line was crossed when the Committee adopted a compromise amendment stating there was no genuine proof of discrimination in employment in the EU. This goes against everything this Parliament stands for, and the data collected by Member States and the Fundamental Rights Agency.”

“It was necessary to reject a half-baked report which would have had no real impact. We will use the next opportunity to send a strong signal to both Commission and Council that they must improve anti-discrimination legislation—including how it is implemented—in the EU on all grounds.”

Raül Romeva i Rueda MEP, Vice-President of the LGBT Intergroup and author of an opinion on the report for the Committee on Civil Liberties, added: “Clearly the situation remains problematic in the European Union, and discrimination at work widespread.”

“Our Committee made the necessary demands on Member States and the Commission, which helped strengthen the final report—alas not enough.”

The implementation of Directive 2000/78 will be reassessed by the Commission and Parliament within two years.

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