Personal and material scope

AuthorTheodoridis, Athanasios
3.1 Personal scope
3.1.1 EU and non-EU nationals (Recital 13 and Article 3(2), Directive 2000/43
and Recital 12 and Article 3(2), Directive 2000/78)
In Greece, the following residence, citizenship and nationality requirements are applied for
protection under the relevant national laws transposing the directives.
There is only one uniform law, Equal Treatment Law 4443/2016, that transposes the
directives; its provisions apply to everyone in both the public and private sectors. This law
does not provide for any restriction related to residence. However, in Article 3(3), the law
contains a restriction related to citizenship/nationality requirements, since it stipulates that
it does not cover differences of treatment based on nationality, for example in the exercise
of the general interest of public authorities or the state (Law 2431/1996 on the
appointment or employment of EU nationals in the public administration),66 and it is
without prejudice to provisions and conditions relating to the entry and residence of third-
country nationals or stateless persons on Greek territory or to any treatment which arises
from the legal status of third-country nationals and stateless persons. Furthermore, Law
2431/1996 provides that the precondition of Greek nationality is not included among the
other prerequisites for the employment of EU nationals. According to Article 1, the only
exemption allowed requires that nationals of other Member States are employed in
positions where the duties and competences do not result in direct or indirect participation
in the exercise of the general interest of public authorities, the state or other public sector
It has already been noted that foreign nationals are entitled to the same rights as Greek
nationals under the applicable law, pursuant to rules allowing foreign nationals to choose
whether Greek law applies or not. Many bilateral treaties signed by the Greek State also
call for national or most-favoured-nation treatment of foreign nationals. According to Law
1975/1991 on the entry, departure, stay, employment and deportation of aliens, an Ρalien
is any person who does not have Greek nationality or a person who is not indigenousΣ.67
Presidential Decrees 358/1997 and 359/199768 confer equal employment rights on Greek
citizens and all foreign nationals legally working in Greece, with no discrimination, racial
or otherwise. Furthermore, Article 4 of the Civil Code stipulates that foreign nationals enjoy
the same civil law rights as Greek nationals.69
From this general legal principle, it has been concluded in Greek law that foreign nationals
legally employed or working in Greece are subject to Greek labour law under the same
conditions as Greek nationals (Article 3(1)(a) and (c) of the Directive). Law 1876/199070
on free collective bargaining covers everyone employed in the private sector.71 However,
66 Law 2431/1996 on the appointment and hiring of EU citizens in the public sector (OJ 175 A/ 30.07.1996).
67 Law 1975/1991 on the entrance, exit, stay, employment and deportation of aliens, the procedure for the
recognition of refugees and other provisions (OJ 184 A/04.12.1991). In 1997 the Greek Manpower
Employment Organisation (OAED) initiated a long-term Ρτperational Programme to Combat Exclusion from
the δabour εarketΣ, covering Ρimmigrants from third countries, refugees, persons repatriated from Western
European countries, persons repatriated from countries other than Western European countries, Pomaks
and RomaΣ. The beneficiaries of this project include Ρunemployed persons or persons with no steady
employmentΣ. The project aims to provide vocational training and to facilitate access by the above groups to
the labour market.
68 Presidential Decrees 358/1997 and 359/1997on the registration and legalisation of aliens (OJ 240
69 Article 4 does not explicitly refer to the legal status of migrants, and there is no guarantee that irregular
migrants will not be treated differently.
70 Law 1876/1990 on free collective negotiations and other provisions (OJ 27 A /08.03.1990).
71 , . (1998)        E, . .  1998
(Lixouriotis, G., The legal status of the immigrant worker in Greece).
Greek labour law contains provisions which are discriminatory to migrant workers, such as
those regarding compensation for accidents at work. According to the Decree of 24 July/25
August 1920 (as amended), compensation due to foreign workers is dependent on various
conditions such as their residence in Greece.72 According to the same law, foreign workers
are entitled to the same treatment as nationals on condition that there is reciprocity
between Greece and their respective countries of origin by virtue of relevant inter-state
agreements. These provisions raise serious questions of compatibility between the above
Greek legislation and the international social rights standards established, inter alia, by the
Finally, Article 19 of Law 4358/201673 protects the rights of migrant workers and their
families by ensuring their protection and assistance, particularly in obtaining accurate
information, through the adoption of measures that will secure treatment for such workers
that is no less favourable than that given to Greek nationals.
3.1.2 Natural and legal persons (Recital 16, Directive 2000/43)
a) Protection against discrimination
In Greece, the personal scope of anti-discrimination law covers natural and legal persons
for the purpose of protection against discrimination (Article8 of Law 4443/2016).
There is no relevant case law.
b) Liability for discrimination
In Greece, the personal scope of anti-discrimination law covers natural and legal persons
for the purpose of liability for discrimination.
Law 4443/2016 does not distinguish between natural and legal persons as far as liability
is concerned. Article 3(1) of the law merely uses the term ΡpersonsΣ with no other specific
reference. It is obvious that both natural and legal persons are liable when discrimination
derives from them.
There is no relevant case law.
3.1.3 Private and public sector including public bodies (Article 3(1))
a) Protection against discrimination
In Greece, the personal scope of national law covers the private and public sectors,
including public bodies, for the purpose of protection against discrimination. Article 3(1) of
Equal Treatment Law 4443/2016 clearly states that the principle of equal treatment applies
to all ΡpersonsΣ (natural and legal) in the public sector as well as the private sector.
The national provisions comply with the directive.
There is no special reference in the law.
There is no relevant case law.
72 , . (1998)        E, . .  1998
(Lixouriotis, G., The legal status of the immigrant worker in Greece). See also Council of State judgments
2599/1982, 2637/1982 and 1318/1990, affirming the above, as reported in the UNHCR Yearbook of refugee
and aliens law 1999, pp. 160–166 (GYRAδ) (      ,
     1999).See also Auditors Court judgment 1617/1998,
affirming the right of the alien widow of a Greek citizen, a former public servant, to receive the pension of
her deceased husband, reported in GYRAL, p. 182.
73 Law 4358/2016 on the ratification of the Revised European Social Charter (OJ 5 A/20.01.2016).

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