Compliance and enforcement aspects (horizontal provisions of all directives)

AuthorPanagiota Petroglou
11 Compliance and enforcement aspects (horizontal provisions of all
11.1 General (legal) context
11.1.1 Surveys and reports about the particular difficulties related to obtaining legal
There have been no surveys and reports pu blished in Greece over the last five years that
provide insights into the particular difficulties fa ced by victims of gender discrimination in
practice in obtaining legal redress. However, the findings of surveys conducted in earlier
years remain valid507 and may even have been amplified by the harsh economic crisis that
has hit Greece in recent years (see 4.1.3 and 4.3.6 above). More specifically, research has
shown that the most often repo rted difficulties and barriers which victims of sex
discrimination encounter, and which may explain the low level of litigation, relate to: low
levels of compensation; the cost and length of legal proceedings; overly short time limits
for initiating proceedings; conditions for entitlement to legal aid; reluctance of unions and
other associations to bring proceedings; ΡstigmaΣ of being a ΡtroublemakerΣ associated with
such cases and fear of retaliation or victimisation, especially within small companies
(where co-workers have hierarchical and often close relationships with the discriminating
party) and small-scale communities (where the stigma associated with adverse treatment
by the employer or with dismissal is more evident); lack of confidenc e of claimants tha t
they will be believed and difficulties of proof; lack of awareness and knowledge about
equality law; lack of experience and of the habit of defending oneΣs o wn rights; la ck of
skilled an d experienced advice and assistance; strongly r ooted traditional gender
stereotypes which have a greater degree of tolerance; and the socio- economic crisis, the
ensuing high unemployment and long-term u nemployment amongst women and the low
level of unemployment benefits which are subject to strict conditions.508 The fear of
unemployment affects not only the victim, but also potential witnesses.509 These deterrent
factors apply in general to all gender equality cases.
11.1.2 Other issues related to the pursuit of a discrimination claim
There are no other issues apart from the difficulties and barriers related to access to the
courts (see below under 11.3).
507 Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (2008), ΡGender equality in Greece and effective judicial protection issues of
general relevance in employment relationshipsΣ, Neue Zeitschrift für Arbeitsrecht NZA-Beilage (New journal
of labour law), pp. 74-82.
Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (1997), ‘        
Σ (Judicial protection and sanctions for violations of EU law),  (Justice), 1997, pp. 351 et
Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (1995), ‘        
 Σ (EU law is binding for the courts and applied by the Supreme Court of its own motion),
 (Trial), 1995, pp. 999 et s.
Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (1993), ‘      
Σ (Effective judicial protection against sex discrimination),  (Justice), 1993, pp. 256 et s.
Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (1992), ‘        
 Σ (Issues of the effect of EU law in granting judicial protection),   (Legal
Podium), 1992, pp. 825 et s.
Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (1992), ‘      Σ
(Issues of the diachronic application of EU social law),    (European
Community Revue), 1989, pp. 157 et s.
508 European Commission, European Network of Legal Experts in gender equality and non-discrimination
(EELN), A comparative analysis of gender equality law in Europe (2018), available at:
509 Koukoulis-Spiliotopoulos, S. (2009), ‘      Ν 
       (   ... 26.3.2009 C-559/07)Σ
(Retirement and harmonisation of family and work Issues of substantive gender equality and judicial
protection (on the occasion of ECJ 26.3.2009 C-559/07),    
(Social Security Law Review) 2009, pp. 753-785 (780-785).
11.1.3 Political and societal debate and pending legislative proposals
There have been no political and societal debates and there are no pending legislative
proposals on this issue.
11.2 Victimisation
The DirectivesΣ provisions on victimisation are implemented in national legislation:
Article 14 of Act 3896/2010 transposing Directive 2006/54/EC;
Article 8 of Act 3769/2009 transposing Directive 2004/113 /EC;
Article 52(3) of Act 4075/2012 transposing Directive 2010/18 /EU.
Article 14 of Act 3896/2010, which aims to transpose Articles 14(1) (the prohibition of
discrimination) and 24 (victimisation) of Directive 2006/54/EC, prohibits Ρth e termination
or dissolution in any other way of the employment relationship or other adverse treatment:
a) on grounds of sex or family status, b) as revenge by the employer due to the workerΣs
rejection of sexual or other haras sment, in accordance with the provisions of Article 2; 510
c) as a reaction by the employer or the person responsible for vocational training to a
protest, complaint, testimony or any other action of a worker or vocational trainee or a
representative thereof, within the undertaking or place of vocational training or before a
court or other authority, which is related to the application of this ActΣ.
This provision, in particu lar in point (c), exceeds Article 24 of the Directive as it i) also
prohibits victimisation by Ρpersons responsible for vocational trainingΣ in th e Ρplace of
vocational trainingΣ; and it ii) is not limited to ΡemployeesΣ representatives provided for by
national laws and/or practicesΣ like Article 24 of the Directive, but refers to any
ΡrepresentativeΣ of a worker or trainee. However, in point (b), victimisation due to
ΡsubmissionΣ to harassment or sexual harassment is omitted, but is included in Article 3 of
the Act which aims to transpose Article 2(2) of the Directive.
Article 8 of Act 3769/2009, which aims to transpose Article 10 of Directive 2004/113/E C
(victimisation), prohibits Ρany adverse treatment or adverse consequence to the detriment
of a person who lodges a complaint or is involved in proceedings aimed at enforcing
compliance with the equal treatment principle within the meaning of this ActΣ. This
provision copies the requirements of Article 10 of the Directive.
Article 52(3) of Act 4075/2012, wh ich aims to transpose Clause 5(4) of Directive
2010/18/EU, reads: ΡThe termination of the contract of employment due to an application
for or the taking of parental leave [Ζ] is null and void. Any adverse treatment of a worker
due to an application for or the taking of parental leave is prohibited.Σ This provision
reproduces the requirements of Clause 5(4) of the Directive.
As shown above, Article 14 of Act 3896/2010 transposing Directive 2006/54/EC exceeds
the Directive, while Article 8 of Act 3 769/2009 transposing Directive 2004/113/EC and
Article 52(3) of Act 4075/2012 transposing Directive 2010/18 /EU fully comply with it.
i) Victimisation in the form of legal retaliation
In practice, in discrimination cases in general, but in particular in cases of sexual
harassment and harassment related to sex (see 3.7.1 above), a serious aspect of
victimisation is the legal (both penal and civil) retaliation by the perpetrator, who can b e
the employer or a superior, a co-worker or a third party. The victimsΣ (and potential
claimantsΣ) fear of victimisation both against them and/or their witnesses is not limited to
510 Article 2 of Act 3896/2010 contains the definitions provided by Article 2(1) of Directive 2006/54/EC (ΡdirectΣ
and ΡindirectΣ discrimination, ΡharassmentΣ and Ρsexual harassmentΣ, ΡpayΣ, Ρoccupational social security

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