General legal framework

AuthorFavilli, Chiara
Constitutional provisions on protection against discrimination and the
promotion of equality
The constitution of Italy includes the following articles dealing with n on-discrimination:
Article 3: provides a general clause. It recognises equal di gnity and equality un der
the law wi thout distinction on the grounds of sex, race, language, religion (belief is
not mentioned per se), political opinion and personal or social conditions. The
grounds of di scrimination listed in Article 3 are more restricted than those
mentioned in Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functionin g of the European Union
(TFEU); however, the list has been interpreted as non-e xhaustive and the
reasonable clause test has been applied by the Constitutional Court to an y ground
of unjustified difference an d in any fiel ds. Article 3 al so includes the principl e of
substantive equality and calls on the state to remove the social and economic
obstacles which limit the freedom and equality of citizens and prevent the full
development of the human being.
Article 8(1): contains a specific clause regarding freedom and equali ty of religions.
Article 37(1): contains a specific clause regarding sex discrimination in labour law.
Article 37(3): contai ns a specific clause providing for equal pay for equal work for
Article 51: contains a specific clause regarding equal access for women and m en to
elected office.
These provisions apply to all areas covered by the directives and there is no restriction to
their material scope. Their material scope is broader than the scope of the directives.
These provisions are dire ctly applicable in theory and can be enforced against private
actors (as well as against the state). However, there are not many cases of this type,
while the majority of judgments applying constitutional provisions are issued by the
Constitutional Court with regard to the validity of laws.

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