Authors: Veronika Bazalová, Fréderique Ast, Tine Thomsen, Madalina Rosu, Rosmarie Doblhoff-Dier, Imane El Morabet, Lindsey Reynolds
This report was produced by Equinet’s Working Group on Equality law in order to analyse the legal developments that have taken place in the field of discrimination based on religion and belief since 2011. This updated version of our 2011 report provides an updated legal framework and details about recent case law in the areas of employment, education, provision of goods and services, manifestation of religion and belief in public and public administration and state functions.
The opening chapter describes a general legal framework including EU law, the Council of Europe’s European Convention on Human Rights, the United Nation’s International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation’s Convention on Discrimination. Importantly, the report underlines that at the EU level there continues to be a gap in protection against discrimination on the ground of religion and belief, with only employment and occupation covered, given the delay in adopting the ‘Horizontal Directive’ proposed in 2008. The report underlines the importance of intersectional discrimination experienced by religious minorities, involving other grounds such as gender or race and ethnic origin. Such intersections can be used to tackle some of the cases that would otherwise fall outside the scope of legal protection.
The following chapters cover the areas of employment, education, provision of goods and services, manifestation of religion and belief in public and public administration and state functions. Each chapter delves into the legal framework specific for that area and presents major court rulings (ECtHR, CJEU, national judiciary) and equality bodies’ decisions.
Other highlights from those chapters include the following:
P.27 of the report refers to CJEU Case C-414/16 Vera Egenberger v Evangelisches Werk fur Diakonie und Entwicklung e.V as a pending case. The CJEU published its judgement on 17 April 2018 and finds that the requirement of religious affiliation for a post within the Church must be amenable to effective judicial review. That requirement must be necessary and objectively dictated, having regard to the ethos of the church, by the nature of the occupational activity concerned or the circumstances in which it is carried out, and must comply with the principle of proportionality.