The definition of discrimination

AuthorTheodoridis, Athanasios
2.1 Grounds of unlawful discrimination explicitly covered
The provisions of Equal Treatment Law 4443/2016 introduce the following grounds of
discrimination: racial or ethnic origin, descent, colour, religious or other beliefs, disability
or chronic illness, age, family or social status, sexual orientation, and ge nder identity or
characteristics. ΡGenderΣ is not covered by δaw 4443/2016, however gender equality is
ensured through other legislation.36
2.1.1 Definition of the grounds of unlawful discrimination within the directives
Certain definitions which were not provided in the previous anti-discrimination law, Law
3304/2005, have now been added through Equal Treatment Law 4443/2016. Equal
Treatment Law 4443/2016 does not itself contain any other definitions on the specific
grounds of discrimination in its text. Some terms are, however, clarified by the Explanatory
Report37 (k ij), which was submitted with draft Equal Treatment Law
4443/2016. The terms that are provided with a definition under the Greek legal system
are set out below.38
a) Racial or ethnic origin
There is a legal definition of Ρracial discriminationΣ in the Greek legal system. According to
Article 1(1) of Legislative Decree 474/1970,39 which ratified the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination (ICERD), Ρracial discrimination means any
distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national
or ethnic origin which ha s the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition,
enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in
the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.Σ
Apart from this, there is no other separate legal definition of ΡraceΣ or Ρracial discriminationΣ
at national level.
There is no separate legal definition of Ρethnic originΣ in the Greek legal system. There is
no distinction between discrimination based on ΡraceΣ and disc rimination based on Ρethnic
originΣ (see above definition included in Decree 474/1970).
36 Mainly through Laws 4097/2012, 3896/2010 and 3769/2009.
37 Explanatory Report for the Draft Law on the transposition of Directive 43/2000/EC on the application of the
principle of equal treatment irrespective of race and ethnic origin, and the transposition of Directive
78/2000/EC on the configuration of the general framework of equal treatment in employment and work and
Directive 54/2014/EU on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of
freedom of movement for workers and other provisions. Explanatory Report on the Equal Treatment Law,
available in Greek on the Greek Parliament website at:
38 Law 4443/2016 also contains the following grounds, which are not mentioned in the Directive:
a) Ρfamily statusΣ was added in order to ensure the equal treatment of people who have entered into a civil
union agreement, including same-sex couples only when they have entered such agreements, within the
employment field. This is in accordance with Law 4356/2015, which introduced same-sex civil union
agreements; and b) Social status, which refers to the Ρsocial stigmatisationΣ of a person due to his/her link
to a certain social sub-group such as former drug addicts or former detainees/prisoners. The Explanatory
Report on Equal Treatment Law 4443/2016 states that other types of group are also included, given that
they constitute specific social sub-groups consisting of a group of people who are linked by a common
characteristic, which is often inherent, unaltered or fundamental to the identity, conscience or exercise of
rights of the groupΣs members.
39 Legislative Decree 474/1970 on the ratification of International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination (OJ 77 A/21.03.1970).

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