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European anti-discrimination law

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Employers are increasingly concerned at the likely impact of new EU anti-discrimination legislation. Many express ignorance of the consequence for employers.

Under the new regime each member state has pledged to harmonise the implementation of anti-discrimination laws and to be proactive in “levelling up” rather than “levelling down” employee rights. One consequence is that employees in one country should enjoy the same rights as those enjoyed by employees in other countries. How far has this process gone and what are the risks for companies who trade in different EU countries?

The Justice Ministries and equal treatment commissions of seven EU countries have come together to explore what the legislation means to them, and to companies and employees in their respective countries. They are developing data on how the new legislation is being implemented and looking at the training implications for lawyers and HR professionals. More EU countries will join the group in 2004 and it is expected to become the definitive source for information on developments in Europe and, as well a collective body that will drive anti-discrimination strategy.

This group is seeking appropriate ways to share their knowledge and expertise with companies. They are setting up a web-based information exchange and part of the planning mechanism for that is to consult with organisations that may have an interest in the information being collated and the expertise available. Any company that trades across EU borders may wish to be in contact with the group.

As a first step, expressions of interest are being invited. If you or your colleagues would like to be kept informed or see value in a dialogue with the anti-discrimination units of the European Justice Ministries, please e-mail the consult to the information exchange project, Hadyn Shaughnessy


Haydn Shaughnessy

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