AuthorLappalainen, Paul
4.1 Genuine and determining occupational requirements (Article 4)
In Sweden, the Di scrimination Act provides for an exception for genuine and dete rmining
occupational requirements.
Chapter 2, Section 2 of the Discrimination Act is formulated as f ollows:
‘The Prohibiti on in Section 1 does not prevent … differential treatment based on a
characteristic associated with one of the grounds of discrimination if, when a decision
is made on employment, promotion or education or training for promotion, by reason
of the nature of the work or the context in which the work is carried out, the
characteristic constitutes a g enuine and determining occupational requirement that
has a legitimate purpose and the requirement is appropriate and necessary to achieve
that purpose.
In the preparatory works, it is made clear that typical examples concerning this clause
include those where a Muslim organisation has the right to demand that an imam be of the
Muslim faith, or an organisation campai gning for equal rights for gays and lesbian s or an
interest organisation serving a certain immigran t group may have a right to require that,
for some ‘core’ positions, the employees themselves should be homosexuals or should have
the relevant immigrant background. At the same time, it is emphasised that exceptions
from the prohibition of discrimination must be given a narrow interpretation.149 Concerning
an organisation, only the positions that are ‘visible’ to the public or of particular relevance
can come into question, not an entire organisation per se, and not automaticall y. The
employer must, furthermore, have a strong motive for applying the exception, and the
position must clearly have required t he qualification concerned. Religious commun ities do
not have a special status under the Discrimination Act, but they are explicitly mentioned
in the preparatory works, along with other examples.
4.2 Employers with an ethos based on religion or belief (Article 4(2) Directive
In Sweden, the Discrimination Act does not provide for an exception for employers with an
ethos based on religion or belief.
In Sweden, all grounds of discrimination are in principle considered equal, and special
provisions would violate this equality. The general rule on exceptions in the labour market
in Chapter 2, S ection 2 applies and there are thus no special exceptions for religious
4.3 Armed forces and ot her specific occupations (Art icle 3(4) and Recital 18
Directive 2000/78)
In Sweden, the Discrimination Act provides for an exception for the armed forces in relation
to age but only with regard to conscription and military education under Chapter 2, Section
15 of the Discrimination Act, (Article 3(4), Directive 2000/78).
For ordinary military employees, the employment rules of the Discrimination Act apply and
there are no special exceptions.
Chapter 2, Section 15, also covers enrolment procedures, admission tests and other
examinations of p ersonal circumstances under the National Total Defence Service Act
149 Government bill 2002/03:65, pp. 185-187 and Government bill 2007/08:95, pp. 155-157.

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