The European Union was founded on the principle of equality. No matter your sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation, you have the right to be treated equally when looking for a job and, once at work, in decisions around promotions, pay, and working hours.
We are here to support you and to ensure that you are treated equally. Discrimination – from your boss, colleagues, hiring managers or anyone else – has no place in the working world and we are actively working to put an end to it.
Why do we need to take action on equality in the EU?
women in the EU feel they are being discriminated against at work
of persons with disabilities are employed, compared to 75% of persons without disabilities
of LGBTI people surveyed across Europe experienced discrimination or harassment
How are we taking action?
older people benefitted from the ESF budget between 2007 and 2013
from ESF+ investments will contribute to gender equality
You shouldn’t be held back from getting a job because of what you believe, your age, your disability, your ethnicity, your gender or your sexual orientation. The EU has legislation to prevent employers from discriminating based on these factors.
- As an EU citizen, you have the right to equal treatment in recruitment, working conditions, promotion, pay, access to vocational training, occupational pensions and dismissal. can help you exercise these rights.
You deserve to be able to work free of worry that you will be discriminated against, to be considered equally for pay rises and promotions and to be treated with respect. The EU stands up for people who are being discriminated against and has legislation aimed at tackling unfair practices at work. More and better jobs in inclusive and accessible workplaces is our goal.
- The EU equal treatment legislation sets out minimum levels of protection that apply to everyone living and working in the European Union.
- You can request reasonable accommodation if you have a disability and believe you need adjustments to your workplace.
- Discrimination at work against parents (particularly mothers) may begin during pregnancy. Parents are seen as less dedicated to their work, less flexible and less reliable. EU laws to tackle discrimination cover a range of areas including protection of pregnant workers and breastfeeding mothers, and rights to maternity, paternity and parental leave.
- EU rules on work-life balance enable parents and carers to better balance their work and family lives and encourage a better sharing of caring responsibilities between women and men.
- Since 2000, the EU has banned discrimination on the basis of age in employment. This means, for example, that your boss can’t deny you a promotion or training because of your age.
- EU rules on Gender Balance on Corporate Boards require large-listed companies to attain at least 40% of the underrepresented gender (currently women) among non-executive directors of listed companies, or 33% among all directors.
You’re working hard to start and grow your own business. You deserve the same opportunities as any other company, no matter how big or small. SMEs are the backbone of Europe’s economy. This is why putting SMEs on an equal footing with big businesses across Europe is a priority for the EU.
- The EU has competition rules in place that are designed to ensure fair and equal conditions for businesses. Large firms are barred from using their bargaining power to impose conditions that would make it difficult for their suppliers or customers to do business with their competitors. This helps protect smaller businesses from being pushed out of the market by large multi-national corporations.
- By discussing issues like labour market challenges, family life and employment, you can improve working conditions and make your business more competitive.To achieve this, the EU promotes social dialogue, as well as dialogues between employees and employers at both national and EU level through ESF+.