Compliance and enforcement aspects (horizontal provisions of all directives)

AuthorRenga, Simonetta
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 are no surveys and/or reports that have been published in Italy over t he last five
years that provide insights into the particular difficulties that victims of gender
discrimination face in practice in obtaining legal redress.
11.1.2 Other issues related to the pursuit of a discrimination claim
A step forward in legal aid and the sp reading of a ‘culture’ of bringing legal proceedings
was taken by the allocation of funds to support the equality advisers (which strengthens
the worker’s financial and psychological position and assures the assistance of an expert
both before and during the trial), but fund ing has been progressively cut every year and
the ability to fully maintain equality advisers has been reduced.
11.1.3 Political and societal debate and pending legislative proposals
There is no political and/or societal debate or pending legislative proposals.
11.2 Victimisation
Article 26 of the Equ al Opportunities Code provides protection against victimisation for
employees and all other persons who are victims of detrimental treatment by their
employer in reaction to requiring compliance with the principle of equal treatment between
men and w omen. Italian legislation fully complies with the directives in this respect.
Moreover, Articl e 1, Paragraph 218 of Act No. 205/2017 (Budgeting Act 2018) partially
amended Article 26 so as to expressly state t hat acts, pacts or provisions amending the
employment relationship of workers who are victims o f less favourable treatment and
adopted in retaliation for the worker’s rejection or reporting of harassment on the groun d
of sex or sexual harassment are null and void. The same law also add ed Paragraph 3bis
to Article 26, specifying that all types of less favourable treatment m entioned above,
including dismissal, tran sfer and change of job or any organisational measure that has a
direct or indirect negative effect on the working condition of the worker who brings a case
to court for harassment or sexual harassment are null and void. The sole exception to the
enforcement of this protection is in case of ascertained criminal liability of the claimant for
libel or slander. No case law has been recorded on this type of dis crimination.
Article 41bis of the Equal Opportunities Code also provides for an extension of special legal
redress (assistance by the equal ity advisers, trade unions and other associations
promoting equal opportunities) to cases of victimisation.
11.3 Access to courts
11.3.1 Difficulties and barriers related to access to courts
Some obstacles in relation to access to redress procedures are likely to arise from: the
discouragement of women, that is a general lack of faith in the legal system; the fact that
the legal proceeding are often too slow and in some cases provide sanctions (such as
nullification of the discriminatory act that provides advantages to one gender) that do not
award any benefit to the victims; the difficulty of proof as regards discrimination cases;
and the lack of a widespread knowledge and consciousness of the se items by the victims
themselves and by union representatives, lawyers, judges and labour inspectors.

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