2 THE DEFINITION OF DISCRIMINATION
2.1 Grounds of unlawful discrimination explicitly covered
The following grounds of discrimination are explicitly prohibited in the main legislation
(listed in the Introduction, the main legislation transposing and implementing the
directives) transposing the two EU anti-discrimination directives:
Article 8 of the ETA lists the following protected grounds: a) sex, b) racial affiliation, c)
colour of skin, d) national ity (not in the sense of citizenship), e) belonging to a national
minority, f) mother tongue, g) disability, h) health condition, i) religion or belief, j) political
or other opinion, k) family status, l) maternity (pregnancy) or paternity, m) sexual
orientation, n) gender identity, o) age, p) social origin, q) financial status, r) part-time
nature of employment legal relationship or other legal relationship relating to employment,
or fixed period thereof, s) belonging to an interest representation organisation, t) any other
situation, attribute or condition of a person or group.
2.1.1 Definition of the grounds of unlawful discrimination withi n the directives
a) Racial or ethnic origin
This term is not defined in national discrimination legislation, and even the terminol ogy
used in the ETA and in other relevant legal norms is very diverse. It is not possible,
therefore, to provide information separately on racial origin and ethnic origin as interpreted
in Hungarian law.
‘Race’ (faj) and ‘colour’ (szín) are mentioned by the Fundamental Law, wherea s the ETA
uses ‘colour of skin’ (brszín), ‘racial affiliation’ (faji hovatartozás), ‘belonging to a national
minority’ (nemzetiséghez való tartozás)35 and ‘nationality’ (nemzetiség) (not in the sense
There is a statutory definition of only one of these terms: nationality ( nemzetiség, not in
the sense of citizenship), which is set forth in Article 1 of Act CLXXIX of 2011 on the Rights
of Nationalities36 (Act on Nationalities): ‘Und er this law, a nationality is any ethnic group
with a history of at least one century of living in the territory of Hungary, which represents
a numerical minority among the citizens of the state, and is distinguished from the r est of
the population by their own language, culture and traditions, and at the same time
demonstrates a sense of belonging together, wh ich is aimed at the preservation of all
these, and the expression and protection of the interests of their communities, which have
been formed in the course of history.’37 The other relevant terms have no legal definitions.
This uncertainty in relation to t erms is also reflected in case law. In 2012, for instance, in
two identical cases (launched because Roma guests were not allowed to enter the
respective bars), the Equal Treatment Authority established the occurrence of
discrimination on two different bases: in one on the basis of the colour of skin,38 in the
other on the basis of belonging to the Roma national minority.39 (Since 2013, the Equal
35 The literal translation of the expression ‘nemzetiséghez való tartozás’ is ‘belonging to a nationality’ but in
practice it is used to cover those people who belong to a national minority within the meaning of Article 1 of
Act CLXXIX of 2011 on the Rights of Nationalities. The expression ‘nemzetiséghez való tartozás’ is therefore
translated in the text as ‘belonging to a national minority’.
36 Act CLXXIX of 2011 on the Rights of Nationalities (2011. évi CLXXIX. törvény a nemzetiségek jogairól), 19
December 2011, http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?dbnum=1&docid=A1100179.TV.
37 Under Annex 1, the Act on Nationalities itself recognises 13 nationalities. These are Armenian, Bulgarian,
Croatian, German, Greek, Polish, Roma, Romanian, Ruthenian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Ukrainian.
38 Equal Treatment Authority, EBH/50/2012, 5 January 2012,
39 Equal Treatment Authority EBH/117/2012, 22 May 2012,