General legal framework

AuthorKristīne Dupate
2 General legal framework
2.1 Constitution
2.1.1 Constitutional ban on sex discrimination
The Constitution do es not explicitly ban sex discrimination. Article 91 of th e Constitution
addresses equal treatment and prohibit ion of discrimination in general. This article does
not list any discriminat ion grounds. It i s interpreted by the authorities (regarding the
content o f th e p rinciple of equal treatment and non-discrimination, types and grounds)
according to the international human rights agreements on the basis of Article 89 of the
Constitution, which makes it mandatory to interpret fundamental r ights provisions of the
Constitution in conformity with binding international agreements.
2.1.2 Other constitutional protection of equality between men an d women
The Constitution does not explicitly provide any specific or additional protection of equality
between men and women.
2.2 Equal treatment legislation
Latvian law does not have specific equal treatment legislation. Latvia has chosen to
implement EU gender equality law in special laws regulating each particular field of lif e
rather than having one special law devoted to such implementation . For example, gender
equality in the field of employment was implemented by amendments to the Labour Law,
while in the field of social insurance it was done by respective amendments to the Law on
Social Security. Non-discrimination on the grounds of sex, with regard to the access t o
and supply of goods and services, was implemented by the Law on the Protection of
Consumer Rights and by the Law on Insurance Companies and their Supervision. As a
result of such approach, Latvia has faced some problems.
Firstly, problems arise because the structure of Latvian special l aws does not always
coincide with the material and personal scope of the EU gender equality and non-
discrimination law, which leads to the situation that implementing measures do not
completely cover the scope required und er relevant EU directives and some times the
legislator ‘has forgotten’ some laws where implementation is necessary.
In particular, relating to employment, the prohibition of discrimination with regard to
employment (service) conditions has not been implemented with regard to judges and
public prosecutors. As a consequence, judges27 and public prosecutors28 are still only
protected against discrimination with regard to access to a po st.
Implementation is incomplete for the prohibition of discrimination principle with regard to
the access to occupational social security schemes in the public sector. The laws on public-
sector long-term service pensions29 do not explicitly stipulate this p rinciple.30
27 Article 51(2) of the Law on Judicial Power (Likums ‘Par tiesu varu’), Official Gazette No. 1, 14 January 1993.
28 Article 331(1) of the Prosecutors’ Office Law (Prokuratras likums), Official Gazette No. 65, 2 June 1994.
29 Law on Pensions for the Military (Militrpersonu izdienas pensiju likums) Official Gazette No. 86, 1 April
1998; Law on Pensions for Employees of the System of the Ministry of Interior Affairs with Special Ranks
(Par izdienas pensijm Iekšlietu ministrijas sistmas darbiniekiem ar specilajm dienesta pakpm),
Official Gazette No. 100/101, 16 April 1998; Law on Pensions for Prosecutors (Prokuroru izdienas pensiju
likums) Official Gazette No. 181, 3 June 1999; Law on Long-Term Service Pensions for Judges (Tiesnešu
izdienas pensiju likums) Official Gazette No. 7 July 2006; Law on Pensions for Artists of State and Municipal
Orchestras, Choirs, Concert Organisations, Theatres, and Circuses (Valsts un pašvaldbu profesionlo
orestru, koru, koncetrorganizciju, tetru un cirka mkslinieku izdienas pensiju likums), Official Gazette
No. 106, 7 July 2004.
30 Although this kind of pension is fully paid from the state budget, it still complies with all three criteria
established by the CJEU in Niemi (Case C-351/00 Pirkko Niemi [2002] ECR I-07007) thus falling within the
scope of Article 157 TFEU.

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