German and European Employment Discrimination Policy
Oregon Review of International Law, Vol. 9, p. 261, 2006
44 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2006 Last revised: 3 Apr 2015
German employment discrimination law is in considerable flux. German law does not protect private-sector employees from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, or sexual orientation, and it provides only limited protection from sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, disability, and age. The European Union, however, has issued two Anti-Discrimination Directives requiring E.U. Member States to offer protection from employment discrimination far greater than the protection currently afforded by German law.
Germany, however, has failed to implement the Anti-Discrimination Directives. E.U. directives normally do not apply directly to E.U. citizens. However, because the deadline for German implementation has passed, German judges must interpret German laws consistently with the Directives, thus giving the Directives indirect horizontal effect. The legal indeterminacy thus created is exacerbated by considerable political uncertainty emanating from the fall 2005 German Parliamentary elections. The clear losers amidst all the confusion are German workers, who have no effective protection from workplace discrimination. This article urges the new German Parliament to quickly rectify this unfortunate situation by passing a workplace Anti-Discrimination law complying with the E.U. Anti-Discrimination Directives.
Keywords: Germany, European Union, discrimination, anti-discrimination, employment
JEL Classification: J71, J78, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation