Legal basis

  • Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation

  • Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union allows for taking action to combat this type of discrimination

Protection at the workplace

Since the year 2000, discrimination on the basis of – among others – sexual orientation in the fields of employment and occupation is prohibited under Directive 2000/78/EC. This means that:

  • You are protected by the law if, for example, you think you are being treated unfairly when applying for a job because of your sexual orientation
  • You are protected by the law if, for example, you have a job where your colleagues treat you badly – such as by calling you names or making jokes at your expense  because of your sexual orientation
  • You are protected by the law if, for example, your boss refuses you promotion or training because of your sexual orientation

Proposed Equal Treatment Directive

In addition, in 2008 the Commission issued a proposal for a directive which would extend the protection from discrimination on the basis of – among others – sexual orientation beyond the workplace, in certain key fields of life.

EU family law legislation

Family law is the competence of EU countries, and EU rules apply only in cross-border cases. A special legislative procedure is in place for such situations: all EU countries have to agree (unanimity) and the European Parliament must be consulted. On the following websites you can find more information on EU family law and on the property regimes of international couples (marriages and registered partnerships).