Equinet’s latest publication Preventing and Reacting to Discrimination through Sanctions and Remedies assesses how current European sanctions regimes can be considered effective, proportionate, and dissuasive. The report identifies challenges and good practices regarding sanctions in non-discrimination law and formulates recommendations.
Equality and non-discrimination for all are essential requisites of any democratic society. But equality legislation needs to be effectively implemented and enforced to reach and foster equality for all. Adequate sanctions and remedies in cases of proven discrimination are crucial for this. The EU anti-discrimination Directives contain scarce guidance on such sanctions, resulting in the ‘effectiveness,’ ‘proportionality,’ and ‘dissuasiveness’ to be interpreted in a very heterogeneous fashion across Member States.
The effectiveness of the measures and institutional arrangements established by Member States to enforce non-discrimination legislation has been called into question by different European institutions. Only some countries are considered to have appropriate sanctions in place, with some national courts establishing relatively moderate damages, favouring non-monetary or low amounts of compensation. These opinions coincide with the conclusions of discussions held at Equinet’s roundtable Future of Equality Legislation in Europe, in that current sanctions “do not guarantee effective redress nor do they act as an effective deterrent.”
This report assesses to what extent current European sanctions regimes can be considered effective, proportionate, and dissuasive, identifying challenges and good practices regarding sanctions in non-discrimination law. Further, it formulates recommendations as to whether and how they should be amended, potentially learning from consumer protection law and data protection law.