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Indirect Discrimination: Impact on People of the Same Sex

Indirect discrimination can occur when a measure disproportionately affects a significantly higher proportion of people of the same sex. A judgment by the Court of Cassation on June 6, 2012, provides a fresh example of such discrimination, specifically targeting individuals of the same sex.

In this particular case, the Court examined the situation of a retired part-time employee who was unable to benefit from an additional retirement allowance. The reason behind this was that her part-time work did not fulfill the required number of hours necessary to qualify for the benefit.

Case Illustration: Additional Retirement Allowance and Part-Time Work

The Court of Cassation, upholding the decision of the trial judges, concluded that linking the entitlement to an additional retirement allowance with a minimum number of working hours constitutes a violation of the principle of equal remuneration between genders. This violation takes the form of indirect discrimination against women, as the condition results in the exclusion, without objective justification, of a significant number of women working part-time. Notably, this exclusion affects women to a much higher extent compared to men.

In this case, the Court’s ruling recognizes that the requirement of a minimum number of working hours for the additional retirement allowance disproportionately affects women who work part-time. The exclusion of these individuals, without any objective justification, violates the principle of equal remuneration between genders. It highlights the fact that a significant number of women, due to their part-time employment, face a higher risk of being excluded from this benefit compared to their male counterparts.

This judgment serves as an important reminder of the ongoing challenges related to gender equality in the workplace. It reinforces the need to address indirect discrimination and implement measures that promote equal opportunities and remuneration for all employees, regardless of their working hours or gender. By recognizing and addressing such instances of discrimination, society can strive towards a more inclusive and equitable working environment for all.