AuthorThomasberger, Martina
1 Introduction
1.1 Basic structure of the national legal system
Austrian legislation is based on the constitutional principles of the Federal Constitutional
Act (Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz),1 additional constitutional legislation , the Federal
Financial Constitution Act (Finanzverfassungsesetz) and the provincia l constitutional acts
for the nine provinces (Bundesländer) which constitute the federal territory. A stan ding
principle of Austrian legislation is a str ict adheren ce to the rule of law according to the
doctrine of Stufenba u der Rechtsordnung (which may be translated as steps of legal
interdependence). This refers to the hierarchical structure by which every piece of
legislation, legal decision , contract or any other legal transacti on is only valid if the l egal
grounds can be directly deduced from other valid legal sources.
Competence for legislation is split between the federal and provincial levels by Articles 10
to 15 of the Federal Constitutional Act. For instance, the competence for legislating labour
law and federal civil service statutes lies with the federal level, while legislation concerning
provincial civil servants and contractual emplo yees, including equal treatment rules, lies
with the provincial levels. Federal legislation is enacted by Parliament, which consists of
two chambers (Nationalrat and Bundesrat); constitutional changes require two-thirds
majorities in each chamber. Administration is the responsibility of federal or provincial
authorities according to organisational rules laid out by Articles 7 and 101 to 104 of the
Federal C onstitutional Act. Civil and criminal cases are decid ed within the federal court
system with the Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof) as the final instance of jurisdiction.
Administrative decisions can be ap pealed within the Administrativ e Court syst em
(Bundesverwaltungsgericht and nine Landesverwaltungsgerichte) with the Supreme
Administrative Court (V erwaltungsgerichtshof) as the final instance of jurisdiction.
Questions of the constitutionality of administrative decisions or of federal or provincial
legal rules can be taken to the Constitution al Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof). Equal
treatment an d anti-discriminat ion rules are mostly implemented by civil law and labour
law provisions, which means that claims need to be taken to th e ci vil courts or to the
labour and social courts.
1.2 List of main legislation transposing and implementing the directives
Equal Treatment Act for the Private Sector (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, GlBG) BGBl I
66/2004, which also cont ains the guidelines for th e provincial equal treatment legislation
for forestry and agricultural workers in Part IV.2
Equal Treatment Act for Federal Civil Servants and Federal Contract Employees (Bundes-
Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, B-GBG);3 for constitutional reasons the directives have to b e
implemented separately at provincial legislative level (nine separate equal treatment acts
for civil servants of provinces and municipalities), and for forestry and agricultural workers
in the provinces (nine separate acts for farm and forestry labourers).
1.3 Sources of law
The anti-discrimination and gender equality provisions of the relevant di rectives must be
implemented by federal or provincial legislation according to the constitutional principles.
The legislator has chosen to use the German la nguage version of the relevant directive
provisions as national legal provisions in most cases. This approach using the broad

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