AuthorSabatauskait?, Birut?
According to Article 2 of the Law on Equal Treatment, the following are not consid ered
direct discrimination:
1) ‘restrictions on the grounds of age as established by law where it is justified by a
legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and neces sary;
2) requirement to know the state language, as established by law;
3) prohibition of participation in political activities in cases specified by law;
4) different rights applied on the basis of citizenship, as established by law;
5) special measures in the field of h ealthcare, safety at w ork, employment and the
labour market as estab lished by law with the view of creating and applying
conditions and opportunities guaranteeing and promoting integration into the
working environment;
6) special temporary mea sures, established by law, which are ta ken to ensure equality
and prevent violation of equal treatment on the grounds of gender, race,
nationality, citizenship, language, orig in, social status, belief, c onvictions or views,
age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion;192
7) where, by reason of the nature of the particular occupational act ivities concerned or
of the context in which they are carried out, a particular human characteristic
constitutes an essential [genuine author] and determining occupational
requirement, provided that the aim is legitimate, and the requirement is
8) where the legal regulat ion of restrictions, sp ecial requirements or conditions with
regard to a person’s social status are justified by a legitimate aim and the mean s of
achieving that aim are appropriate a nd necessary;
[According to Article 2(8), ‘social status’ is defined as the status of a person based
on his/her past or present education, qualifications, income or property ownership,
dependence on social a ssistance schemes as well as any other characteristics
related to the financial situation of a person.]
9) organisation of special sports competitions for people with disabilities.’
In addition to this list, Article 3 of the Law on Equal Treatment states that the Law does
not apply to a wide range of activities in relation to ethos-based organisations
(membership, employment, educational activities) and/or education materials providing
traditional religious teaching, and that it also does not apply in the spheres of family and
private life. These provisions are de scribed in Section 4.2 below.
In most cases, the Law on Equal Trea tment requires that except ions regarding particular
grounds must be established by law and objectively justifi ed by a legitimate aim, and
that the means of achieving that aim must be appropriate and necess ary.
4.1 Genuine and determining occupational requirements (Article 4)
In Lithuania, national legislation provides for an exception for genuine and determining
occupational requirements.
The provision on genuine and determining occupational requiremen ts is contained in the
Law on Equal Treatmen t in the form of a list of exceptions to direct anti-discrimination
provisions (Article 2(9)). The na tional provision repeats the wording of the directive and
does not elaborate on i t.
192 However, special temporary measures are not defined in any other laws, except for those identified in
relation to a person’s disability. It is also unclear whether all of them could be identified as temporary
The Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson has summarised complaints received in 2018 in
which applicants complained about language requirement s (knowledge of foreign
languages) for a specific job. One of the examples concerned a job vacancy as an
administrator with a requirement to know English and Russian. The Ombudsperson
concluded that knowledge of foreign languages could be held as a genuine and
determining occupational requirement, and that the aim (of providing services) w ould be
reached through appropriate and proportionat e measures including a requirement t o
know English and Russian, being the most common foreign languages among clients in
Vilnius. Therefore, no violation of equal treatment was rec ognised.193
An important decision was made in 2019, in which the Court recognised, as per the
request of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson, that the decision of Vilnius City
Municipality to set a special requirement for the director of the Verkiai and Pavilniai Park
Directorate to ride a bike constituted a violation of equal opportun ities. In a previous
decision, in 2017, the Equal Opportunities Omb udsperson had recognised th is as indirect
discrimination on the ground of disability and had recommended that the municipality
amend the requirements. The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court concludedthat the
Ombudsperson reasonably stated in their decision that the req uirement established in the
Job Description for the Director of th e Directorate to be able to ride a bicycle cannot be
related to the performance of functions. Th e Court concludes that, for persons who, due
to the nature of their disability, are not able to rid e a bicycle, the Job De scription
establishes a de facto restricti on on the exercise of their rights equally in comparison
with other persons to apply for the position offered in the announcement.’194
4.2 Employers with an ethos based on religion or b elief (Article 4(2) Directive
In Lithuania, national law provid es an exception for employers with an ethos based on
religion or belief.
According to Article 3 of the Law on Equal Treatment, the law would not apply to
teachers, employees or members of religi ous communities, associations or centres, nor
would it apply to associations or leg al persons (whose ethos was based on a religion or
belief and that had been established to serve its purposes) established by these religious
communities or their membe rs where, by reason of the nature of the activities of these
entities, or of the context in which they are carried out, a person’s religi on or belief
constitutes a genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement with regard to
the organisation’s ethos. Additionally, the LET provides these organisations and
institutions with the right to require individuals working for them to act in good faith and
with loyalty to the organisation’s ethos, as allowed by the directive.
Similar wording is repeated in Article 26 of the L abour Code.195
The first version of the Law on Equal Treatment did not contain such an exception, and
there is no case law or in terpretation on the matter. There is also no information
available about whether such practices existed before the country adopted the directive,
and in which organisations and to what extent they we re used, since none of this was
discussed in Parliament when the amendments were p assed.
193 Lithuanian Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson (2019), Annual Report for 2018, available in Lithuanian at:
https://lygybe.lt/data/public/uploads/201 9/04/lgk-2018-m.-veiklos-ataskaita-.pdf.
194 Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (Vilniaus apygardos administracinis teismas), Office of the Equal
Opportunities Ombudsperson v. Vilnius City Municipality, administrative case No. I-45 23-789/2019, decision
of 3 October 2019.
195 Labour Code (Darbo kodekso patvirtinimo, sigaliojimo ir gyvendinimo statymas. Darbo Kodeksas), 2016,
No. XII-2603, available in Lithuanian at: https://www.e-
tar.lt/portal/lt/legalAct/f6d686707e7011e 6b969d7ae07280e89.

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