General legal framework

AuthorDavulis, Tomas
2 General legal framework
2.1 Constitution
2.1.1 Constitutional ban on sex discrimination
The Constitution of 25 October 19924 contains th e general principle of equal ity. Pursuant
to Article 29(1) of th e Constitution all persons shall be equal before t he law, the courts,
and other state in stitutions and officials. Section 29(2) clarifies that this shall mean the
prohibition of restriction of the rights of the human being, or the prohibition of privileges,
in other words prohi bition of discrimination.5 In addition, Section 29(2) enumerates
prohibited grounds of discrimination: sex, race, nationality, language, origin, social status,
belief, convictions, or views. The Constitutional Court, however, has indicated that the said
provision contains a non-exhaustive list of prohibited grounds of discrimination,6 thus
leaving open the possibili ty for fu rther grounds to be protected by the legislator. It also
eliminates the possibility of any hierarchy among the different grounds for discrimination.
Although the Constitution contains a clause on the direct effect of constitutional provisions
(Section 6), the Constitutional Court has not elaborated on the possibility of relying
thereon in disputes between private persons (h orizontal effect). The courts of general
jurisdiction should then rely on ordinary laws, namely on the Labour Code or the Equal
Opportunities Act (EOA) and the Equal Opportunities Act for Women and Men (EOAWM).
Moreover, the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court7 requires the courts to stay proceedings
and to refer a case to the Constitutional Court if there is uncertainty in regard to conformity
of legislation with constitutional provisions.
2.1.2 Other constitutional protection of equality between m en and women
Section 48(1) of the Constit ution also lays down the right to fair remuneration for work,
where the concept of ‘fair re muneration’ (in accordance with the jurisprudence of the
Constitutional Court)8 also includes the principle of remuneration without discrimination.
2.2 Equal treatment legislation
There are several pieces of domestic equality legislation. The Labour Code of 19 September
2016 (in force since 1 July 2017) mentions, among the p rinciples of labour law, the
principle of fair remuneration and the general principle of the equality of employees
irrespective of (inter alia) their gender, marital and family status as well as their intention
to have children. There is also a special article devoted to implementation of the principl e
of equal treatment in the area of employment (Article 26 of the Labour Code).
The Equal Opportunities Act for Women and Men (EOAWM) of 1998 and the Equal
Opportunities Act (EOA) of 2003 introduced the central concepts an d provide basic rules,
define the scope of their application, and establish the mechanisms for supervision and
enforcement. One of the Lithuanian p eculiarities, however, is a certain ‘double coverage’
of discrimination on the ground of sex in these two different Acts. The EOAWM is a special
law dealing with gender discrimination in particular , while the Equal Opportunities Act
(EOA) is intended to deal with discrimination on the grounds stipulated by the EU equality
directives of 2000 and a number of other domestic grounds, such as nationality, language,
4 Valstybs žinios 1992, No. 333.
5 Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos konstitucinis teismas), 11 November
1998, available (in Lithuanian) at:
6 Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, 24 January 1995, available (in Lithuanian) at:
7 Supreme Court of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Aukščiausias teismas), Survey No. A2-7, 2 June 1997.
Teismu praktika, No. 7.
8 Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuania, 18 December 2001, available (in Lithuanian) at:

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