Workplace discrimination

Workplace discrimination exists in Estonia and there are also laws that protect against it. And people are becoming more aware.

Legally speaking, discrimination or unfair treatment means a situation where in similar circumstances and based on some particular aspect, one person is treated unfairly and the other is not. According to our Constitution - Everyone is equal before the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of nationality, race, colour, sex, language, origin, religion, political or other views, property or social status, or on other grounds.

There are also more specific laws that tackle discrimination. The Gender Equality Act regulates discrimination based on gender and Equal Treatment Act is in place to ensure the protection of persons against discrimination on grounds of nationality (ethnic origin), race, colour, religion or other beliefs, age, disability or sexual orientation. Both laws are available at: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/search .

Employers have an obligation to avoid discrimination and promote equal treatment. More specifically the law says: An employer shall ensure the protection of employees against discrimination, follow the principle of equal treatment and promote equality in accordance with the Equal Treatment Act and Gender Equality Act.

But what can be done in cases of discrimination? It is a subtle subject for many reasons. Fear of losing your job, fear of publicity or just lack of proof. There are still remedies which can be utilized.

It is possible to go to court and demand both direct and indirect (moral) damages. It is also possible to turn to Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner. The contacts can be found here: http://www.volinik.ee/ .

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