General legal framework

AuthorDurbáková, Vanda
Constitutional provisions on protection against discrimination and the promotion
of equality
The Slovak Constitution includes the following Articles dealing with non-discrimination:
- Article 12 a general clause. Article 12(1) states that ‘people are free an d equal in
dignity and rights’. Article 12(2) stipulates that
‘fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the territory of the Slovak
Republic to every person regardless of sex, race, skin colour, language, belief,
religion, political affiliation or conviction, national or social origin, nationality or ethnic
origin, property, lineage/gender73 or any other status. No person shall be denied their
legal rightsĽ discriminated against or favoured on any of these grounds’.
- Article 12(3) of the Constitution guarantees free choice of ‘nationality’.74 The right to
be treated equally is an accessory right and can only be claimed in connection with
the protection of particular fundamental rights and freedoms listed in the
Constitution.75 The list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Constitution is
open-ended ( ‘any other status’) and the Constitutiona l Court has already declared
that sexual orientation is a constitutionally prohibited ground of discrimination.76
Given the fact that the list is open-ended, it can be argued that disability and age, as
well as any other grounds covered by the legislation77 or even not covered by
generally binding Slovak legal acts, are also constitutionally protected grounds. 78
- Article 24 freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief.
- Article 33 the affiliation to any national minority or an ethnic group cannot be to
the detriment of anyone.
These provisions apply to all areas covered by the directives. Their material scope is
broader than those of the directives.
These provisions are directly applicable, but only have vertical effect. The Constitutional
Court held explicitly that Articles 12(1) and 12(2) of the Constitution do not have direct
horizontal effect.79
Thus, these provisions cannot be enforced against private individuals (although they can
be enforced against the state).
73 The Slovak Constitution uses the word rod, which is equivalent to both ‘lineage’ and ‘gender’. The
Constitutional Court has not interpreted the concept of rod directly yet. However, it has already used the
word rod in the sense of gender when it referred to the ‘gender context’ of one of the cases that it was
deciding (minimum pay threshold stated by law for nurses), albeit without a direct reference to the word rod
contained in the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in Article 12(2) of the Constitution. See the
finding of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, PL. ÚS 13/2012-90, 19 June 2013, paragraph
74 In Slovak lawĽ the word ‘nationality’ (národnos) is separate and distinct from the word ‘citizenship’ (štátne
občianstvo). Whereas ‘citizenship’ is understood as meaning nationality in the sense of having a legal
affiliation with a particular state (i.e. being a national or citizen of the Slovak Republic)Ľ ‘nationality’ is
understood as an affiliation with a particular ‘nation’ (a group of people defined by common languageĽ
geographical and cultural roots etc.) or ethnic group. ThusĽ ‘nationality’ is often understood as meaning
‘ethnicity’Ľ including in the practice of state bodies and public institutions.
75 Finding of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, I. ÚS 17/99, 22 September 1999.
76 See the Finding of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, PL. ÚS 8/04-202, 18 October 2005,
available at!DecisionsSearchResultView.
77 Such as marital and family status, which are covered, for example, by the Anti-discrimination Act or by the
Labour Code.
78 The Constitutional Court has already stated that the fact of being a minister of a certain church constitutes
just such ‘another status’ and hence such a person cannot be advantaged or disadvantaged on this ground.
See the finding of the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic, No. III. ÚS 64/00-65, 31 January 2001.
79 See the Finding of the Constitutional Court, PL. ÚS 8/04-202, 18 October 2005, paragraph 13.

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