Women and Justice: Keywords


Lietuvos Respublikos Konstitucija (Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania) (1992)

Employment discrimination, Forced and early marriage, Gender discrimination, LGBTIQ

The Constitution is an essential pillar of gender equality legislation in Lithuania. Article 29 affirms that human rights may not be restricted, or any privileges granted, on the grounds of “gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions, or views.” Further, Article 38 declares that marriage can only be concluded upon free mutual consent between a man and a woman, and that the rights of spouses are equal. The provisions do not declare same-sex marriages or partnerships valid. Article 39 states that working mothers are entitled to paid leave before and after childbirth, and favorable working conditions. English translation available here.

Konstitucija yra esminis lyčių lygybės teisės aktų ramstis Lietuvoje. Straipsnyje 29 teigiama, kad žmogaus teisės negali būti ribojamos ar suteikiamos privilegijos dėl „lyties, rasės, tautybės, kalbos, kilmės, socialinės padėties, tikėjimo, įsitikinimų ar pažiūrų“. Be to, straipsnyje 38 nustatyta, kad santuoka gali būti sudaroma tik gavus laisvą vyro ir moters tarpusavio sutikimą ir kad sutuoktinių teisės yra lygios. Šios nuostatos nedeklaruoja tos pačios lyties asmenų santuokų ar partnerysčių galiojančiomis. Straipsnyje 39 nustatyta, kad dirbančios motinos turi teisę į mokamas atostogas prieš gimdymą ir po jo bei palankias darbo sąlygas.

Labor Code Chapter 12: Employment and Social Vacations (1999)

Employment discrimination

Women are granted leave for reasons of pregnancy and childbirth for 126 calendar days (140 days if there are complications at birth). After the birth of the child, women are entitled to maternal leave for a period of up to three years in accordance with Arts. 184-185. During this time, women are paid a monthly allowance by the State.

Employment (Amendment) Act of 2010 (2010)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Sections 113-118 of the Employment (Amendment) Act pertain to the rights of women to maternity leave from their employers. The amendment compels employers to pay employees on maternity leave not less than 50% of their salary, establishes the right to maternity allowance unaffected by notice of termination of contract of employment, and prohibits serving notice of termination of contract of employment during maternity leave. It establishes in Section 117 that female employees are entitled to only one maternity allowance per woman. Section 118 mandates that an employer permit a female employee for a half hour twice a day to “suckle her child or otherwise feed him herself” for “six months immediately after her return to work.”

Lei do Trabalho: Lei nº 27/2007 (Labor Act) (2007)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The law governs rights associated with labor. The law grants women the right to a 60-day paid maternity leave. In contrast, fathers receive a one-day paternity leave on the day immediately following the birth of the child. The law also provides that mothers have the right to up to 30 absences from work per year in order to care for minor children who are either sick or have suffered an accident.

Mutterschutzgesetz (Maternity Protection Act) (1979)

Abortion and reproductive health rights, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Pregnant employees are prohibited from working during the eight-week period prior to giving birth and the eight-week period after giving birth. During this period, the mother is entitled to receive maternity pay, which is calculated as the employee’s average earnings during the three calendar months prior to the prohibition of work. After the prohibition period, women may take an additional period of parental leave (Karenz) until the child reaches the age of two. During this period, a mother (or father, if he has taken paternity leave, although both parents may not take leave concurrently) will not receive remuneration through her (or his) employer, although the parent taking leave may receive a child allowance through social insurance during this time. Pregnant employees and parents on parental leave may not be terminated from employment during that time and for a period of four weeks after returning to work. The Act also provides regulations for permissible types of work for pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, and women who have recently given birth (i.e., prohibition of certain physical work and manual labor, handling of chemicals, work where the woman must sit or stand for long periods with no break, etc.) and regulations regarding the times pregnant and breastfeeding employees may work (i.e., must not work between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., nor Sundays or public holidays).

Schwangeren Angestellten ist das Arbeiten während eines Acht-Wochen-Zeitraums vor der Kindesgeburt und nach der Kindesgeburt untersagt. Während des Zeitraums hat die Mutter einen Anspruch auf das sog. Wochengeld. Die Höhe dessen richtet sich nach dem Durchschnittsgehalt der Angestellten innerhalb der letzten drei Kalendermonate, bevor der Arbeitsuntersagung. Nach dem Zeitraum, in dem die Mutter nicht arbeiten darf, kann sie optional noch weitere Elternzeit, sog. Karenz, in Anspruch nehmen, bis das Kind ein Alter von zwei Jahren erreicht. In der Karenzzeit können Mutter oder Vater, je nachdem wer die Karenz in Anspruch genommen hat (niemals beide gleichzeitig), keine Vergütung von ihrem Arbeitnehmer verlangen, sie erhalten allerdings einen Kindesunterhalt von der Sozialversicherung. Schwangere Angestellte und Eltern in Elternzeit können während dieser Zeit und bis zu vier Wochen nach ihrer Rückkehr nicht gekündigt werden. Das MuSchG enthält darüber hinaus auch Regeln bezüglich der Arbeit, die schwangeren, stillenden und Frauen, die kürzlich gebärt haben, gestattet ist – insbesondere verboten: körperlich besonders anstrengende Arbeit, der Umgang mit Chemikalien, Arbeit, bei der die Frau ohne Pause lange sitzen oder stehen muss, etc. Außerdem enthält das MuSchG Regeln zur Arbeitszeit, die schwangeren und stillenden Angestellten gestattet ist – nicht zwischen 20 Uhr und 6 Uhr; nicht an Sonntagen und staatlichen Feiertagen.

Social Security Act (1994)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Social Security Act provides maternity benefits to women through a compulsory combined scheme for sickness, maternity and death benefits through matching employer and employee contributions. The Act establishes the National Medical Benefit Fund to administer the payments for such benefits and the National Pension Fund for pension benefits for those who have retired. The Act also makes a provision for the funding of training programs for disadvantaged and unemployed persons through a Development Fund.

Decreto Legislativo 26 marzo 2001, n. 151 (Legislative Decree No. 151/2001) (2001)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This legislative decree protects maternity and paternity, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of either. It regulates parental leave, leave for the illness of a child, rest, and the treatment of pregnant workers to protect their health. (Note: PDF is the consolidated text only. Follow the external link for the entire text of the decree.)

Il presente decreto legislativo tutela la maternità e la paternità e proibisce le discriminazioni basate su di esse. Il decreto disciplina i congedi parentali, i congedi per la malattia dei figli, i riposi e la tutela delle lavoratrici incinta. (Nota: il PDF è il solo testo consolidato. Seguire il link esterno per l’intero testo del decreto).

Código do Trabalho (Lei n.º 7/2009) (2018)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

Section 29 of the Portuguese Labor Law ensures equal opportunity in labor and and prevents gender discrimination. The Code also guarantees maternity and paternity leave, bans harassment, establishes universal preschool for children until the age of five, and requires children to attend school.

A seção 29 do Código do Trabalho Português garante oportunidades iguais de trabalho e impede a discriminação de gênero. O Código também garante as licenças de maternidade e paternidade, proíbe o assédio, estabelece pré-escola universal para crianças até os cinco anos, e requer que as crianças frequentem a escola.

Código de Trabajo (Labor Code - Law No. 116 of December 20, 2013) (2013)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Chapter 1 of Cuba’s Labor Code sets forth the basic principles of the Labor Code, with specific reference to providing women with positions that are compatible with their physical and physiological characteristics and allowing women to incorporate themselves in the workforce, and entitlements to maternity leave for women, before and after childbirth, including medical services, free of cost, required by maternity. Additionally, Chapter 8 of the Labor Code is devoted to promoting policies conducive to women’s labor, including requirements that (1) the workplace create and maintain labor and sanitary conditions that are adequate for the participation of women in the labor process (Section 2); (2) labor conditions are consistent with the physical and physiological characteristics of women, taking into account, inter alia, women’s elevated functions as mothers (Section 4); and (3) single mothers be provided with stipends to help them care for their children until they return to work (Section 4).

El Capítulo 1 del Código de Trabajo de Cuba establece los principios básicos del Código de Trabajo y hace referencia específica los temas: brindar a las mujeres puestos que sean compatibles con sus características físicas y fisiológicas, permitir que las mujeres se incorporen a la fuerza laboral, y el derecho a la licencia de maternidad para las mujeres antes y después del parto, incluidos los servicios médicos, gratuitos, exigidos por la maternidad. Además, el Capítulo 8 del Código Laboral está dedicado a promover políticas que favorezcan el trabajo de la mujer, incluyendo requisitos que (1) el lugar de trabajo cree y mantenga condiciones laborales y sanitarias adecuadas para la participación de la mujer en el proceso laboral (Artículo 2); (2) las condiciones laborales sean compatibles con las características físicas y fisiológicas de la mujer, teniendo en cuenta, entre otras cosas, las funciones elevadas de la mujer como madre (Sección 4); y (3) las madres solteras recibirán estipendios para ayudarlas a cuidar a sus hijos hasta que regresen al trabajo (Sección 4).

Republic of Cuba Constitution of 1976 (amended 2002; English) (1976)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

Article 44 of Cuba’s Constitution states that women and men enjoy equal economic, political, cultural, social and familial rights and that Cuba (the “State”) “guarantees that women will be offered the same opportunities and possibilities as men to achieve their full participation in the development of the country.” Article 44 further states that the State grants working women paid maternity leave before and after childbirth, and temporary work options compatible with their maternal function.

El Artículo 44 de la Constitución cubana establece que las mujeres y los hombres gozan de iguales derechos económicos, políticos, culturales, sociales y familiares y que Cuba (el “Estado”) “garantiza que las mujeres tendrán las mismas oportunidades y posibilidades que los hombres para lograr su plena participación en el desarrollo del país.” El Artículo 44 establece además que el Estado otorga a las trabajadoras licencia de maternidad remunerada antes y después del parto y opciones de trabajo temporal compatibles con su función materna.

Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Divorce and dissolution of marriage, Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Harmful traditional practices, International law

Article 9 of the FDRE Constitution provides that all international treaties ratified by Ethiopia are integral parts of the law of the land. Similarly, Article 13.2 provides that fundamental rights and freedoms shall be interpreted in a manner conforming to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenants on Human Rights and International instruments adopted by Ethiopia. Ethiopia has ratified many of these treaties including ICCPR, ICESCR, and CEDAW. Article 35 of the FDRE Constitution pertains to the Rights of Women. The article provides for equal rights under the constitution, equal rights with men in marriage, entitlement to affirmative measures, protection from harmful traditional practices, the right to maternity pay, the right to consultation, property rights (including acquiring and controlling and transferring property), employment rights, and access to family planning education. It is worth noting that this article explicitly imposes an obligation and accountability on the state to protect women from violence at Article 35.4: “The State shall enforce the right of women to eliminate the influences of harmful customs. Laws, customs and practices that oppress or cause bodily or mental harm to women are prohibited.”

Lei Federal Nº 11.770/2008 (2008)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

This law created a tax benefit available for private companies that (1) offer an additional 60 days of maternity leave in addition to the mandatory 120 days set forth in Decree No. 5.452/1943; (2) offer an additional 15 days of paternity leave in addition to the mandatory five days. The tax benefit is the deduction of the employee's full remuneration paid on the days of the extension of their leave. The benefit also applies for adoptions.

Referida lei federal criou um benefício fiscal para as denominadas “Empresas cidadãs”, que são as empresas que oferecem: (i) 60 dias extras de licença maternidade, em adição aos 120 dias estabelecidos na CLT; e (ii) 15 dias adicionais de licença paternidade, em complemento aos 5 dias mandatórios por lei Referidas extensões também são conferidas às adoções. As “empresas cidadãs”, em contrapartida, podem deduzir o valor integral da remuneração paga ao empregado relativo aos dias de prorrogação de sua licença-maternidade e de sua licença-paternidade.

Domestic Case Law

1 BvR 1409/10 Bundesverfassungsgericht Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court) (2011)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Court held that it was in breach of the right to equal treatment enshrined in the German constitution that periods of maternity leave (which affects women only) were not counted towards certain pension benefits whereas periods of sick leave (which affects both men and women) were. English translation of 1 BvR 1409/10 available here.)

Der Gerichtshof stellte fest, dass es gegen das im deutschen Grundgesetz verankerte Recht auf Gleichbehandlung verstößt, wenn Zeiten des Mutterschaftsurlaubs (der nur Frauen betrifft) nicht auf bestimmte Rentenleistungen angerechnet werden, längere Krankheitszeiten (die sowohl Männer als auch Frauen betreffen) hingegen schon.

De Sousa v. Administración de Parques Nacionales Camara Federal de San Martin (Federal Court of San Martin) (2018)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, International law

On July 6, 2016, the plaintiff notified the defendant-employer of her pregnancy and intention to take maternity leave. As of the date of notification, the plaintiff held a temporary executive position. On July 11, 2016, the defendant notified the plaintiff that her temporary designation as an executive was of no effect. The defendant subsequently provided a maternity compensation package beginning on the date her temporary designation was revoked, but it did not reflect her higher earnings as a temporary executive. The court of first instance granted the plaintiff maternity leave at a salary corresponding (1) to her executive status as from the date she provided notice until 30 days before the probable date of birth and (2) to her non-executive status during the 100 days following the birth of the plaintiff’s child. On appeal, the plaintiff challenged the trial court’s ruling denying her executive pay for the 100-day period following the birth of her child, while the defendant challenged the trial court’s ruling granting the plaintiff executive pay from the date of notice of her pregnancy because of the subsequent cancellation of the plaintiff’s executive status on July 11, 2016. The appellate court found in favor of the plaintiff, noting that (1) the Argentine Constitution provides for the full protection of women during pregnancy and breastfeeding, (2) the International Treaty for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (to which Argentina is a signatory) requires the adoption of laws that prevent discrimination based on marriage or pregnancy, and (3) the failure to award the plaintiff maternity compensation corresponding to her executive status would result in a failure to ensure employment stability. The appellate court ruled against the plaintiff’s request to return to her executive position following maternity leave on the basis that the designation was temporary in nature and that laws protecting women during maternity leave cannot alter the fundamental nature of the relationship prior to maternity.

El 6 de julio de 2016, la demandante notificó a su empleador que estaba embarazada y que tenía intención de tomar la baja por maternidad. En la fecha de notificación, la demandante ocupaba un cargo ejecutivo temporal. El 11 de julio de 2016, el empleador notificó a la demandante que su designación temporal como ejecutiva no surtía efecto. Adicionalmente, el empleador le proporcionó un paquete de compensación por maternidad a partir de la fecha en que se revocó su designación temporal, pero este no reflejaba sus mayores ingresos como ejecutiva temporal. El Juzgado de Primera Instancia otorgó a la demandante licencia de maternidad con un salario correspondiente (1) a su condición de ejecutiva a partir de la fecha de notificación hasta 30 días antes de la fecha probable de nacimiento y (2) a su condición de no ejecutiva durante el 100 días después del nacimiento del hijo del demandante. La demandate apeló esta decisión, citando como error del tribunal de primera instancia el que se le negara la paga ejecutiva durante el período de 100 días después del nacimiento de su hijo. El empleador discutió que la orden inicial le otorgaba a la demandante paga ejecutiva desde la fecha de notificación de su embarazo debido a la subsiguiente cancelación de la condición de ejecutivo de la demandante el 11 de julio de 2016. El tribunal de apelaciones decidió a favor de la demandante, señalando que (1) la Constitución Argentina prevé la protección total de la mujer durante el embarazo y la lactancia, (2) el Tratado Internacional para la Eliminación de todas las formas de Discriminación contra la Mujer (de la cual Argentina es signataria) requiere la adopción de leyes que prevengan la discriminación por matrimonio o embarazo, y (3) la falta de adjudicación a la demandante de una compensación por maternidad correspondiente a su condición de ejecutiva sería resultar en un fracaso para asegurar la estabilidad del empleo. El tribunal de apelación decidió en contra de la solicitud de la demandante de regresar a su puesto ejecutivo después de la licencia de maternidad sobre la base de que la designación era de carácter temporal y que las leyes que protegen a las mujeres durante la licencia de maternidad no pueden alterar la naturaleza fundamental de la relación antes de la maternidad.

Sentenza n. 937/2017 La Corte d'Appello di Torino: Sezione Lavoro (Court of Appeal of Turin: Labor Section) (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Court of Appeal of Turin upheld the lower court’s judgment deeming a clause of a collective agreement negotiated at the enterprise level to be discriminatory because it infringed on Articles 3 and 37 of the Constitution, Article 25, para 2bis, of Decree No. 198/2006 and Article 3 of Decree No. 151/2001. Under the relevant clause the “real presence at work” was as an eligibility criterion to receive an additional remuneration, it being understood that any family-related leave, including any compulsory maternity leave, parental leave, and/or leave for illness, could affect the employees’ level of performance in that respect. The Court maintained that even though the criterion was formally neutral, it resulted in an indirect pay discrimination since female workers usually take more family-related leave than male workers. Moreover, during the trial, the company failed to provide a permissible justification regarding the requirement of “real presence at work.” Therefore, the employer was ordered to (1) cease the discrimination by computing leave as actual time worked for the purposes of achieving the real presence requirement and becoming eligible for the additional remuneration, (2) to pay the additional remuneration incentive to the plaintiffs, and (3) to enhance a plan to remove the discrimination by avoiding the inclusion of the above criterion in any future collective bargaining at the enterprise level. The latter was promoted by the intervention of the Regional Equality Adviser as a case of collective discrimination.

La Corte d’Appello di Torino ha confermato la sentenza del Tribunale di primo grado che considerava discriminatoria una clausola di un contratto collettivo negoziato a livello di impresa in quanto contraria agli articoli 3 e 37 della Costituzione, all’articolo 25, paragrafo 2 bis, del decreto n. 198/2006 e all’articolo 3 del decreto n. 151/2001. Ai sensi della clausola rilevane, l’“effettiva presenza in servizio” era un criterio di ammissibilità per ricevere una retribuzione aggiuntiva, fermo restando che qualsiasi congedo per motivi familiari, compresi i congedi di maternità obbligatori e i congedi parentali e/o congedi per malattia, avrebbero potuto influire sul livello di prestazioni dei dipendenti a tale riguardo. La Corte ha sostenuto che, pur essendo la clausola formalmente neutrale, il criterio comportava una discriminazione retributiva indiretta, in quanto le lavoratrici prendono generalmente un numero di congedi familiari superiore a quello dei lavoratori di sesso maschile. Inoltre, durante il processo, l’azienda non aveva fornito una giustificazione ammissibile per quanto riguarda il requisito dell’“effettiva presenza in servizio”. Pertanto, al datore di lavoro è stato ordinato di (1) cessare la discriminazione calcolando il congedo come tempo effettivo di lavoro ai fini del raggiungimento del requisito di presenza effettiva in servizio e quindi di poter essere ammessi al percepimento della remunerazione aggiuntiva, (2) versare l’incentivo retributivo supplementare ai ricorrenti, e (3) implementare un piano per rimuovere le discriminazioni evitando l’inclusione della clausola di cui sopra in qualsiasi futura contrattazione collettiva a livello di impresa. Quest’ultimo obiettivo è stato promosso dall’intervento del Consigliere regionale di Parità al fine di far cassare un caso di discriminazione collettiva.

Sentencia Numero 740/06 High Court of the Basque Country Contentious-Administrative Chamber (2004)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

During a staff selection process for the Basque Health Service, in particular for the substitution of the chief of psychiatry services in the Santiago de Vitoria Hospital for a period of six (6) months, Mrs. Elena who had had a baby fifteen (15) days before the above mentioned selection process, was obliged by the Basque Health Service authority to renounce to the post she had the right to. The Basque Health Service authority deprived Mrs. Elena from a post that corresponded to her by the position she had in the list of temporary recruitment. The Basque Health Service authority forced Mrs. Elena to renounce to the post because of her recent maternity when she had expressly said that she wanted to accept that job. Art. 48 of the Statute of Workers Right (Estatuto de los Trabajadores) damage the worker depriving them from an appointment that corresponds to the worker. The maternity leave is not equal to a lack of capacity for the performance of their duties for the post under Spanish law. Law 30/1999 of 5th October of selection of temporary workers of the Health Service, does not exclude the recruitment of a person during the maternity leave. The decision of the High Court of the Basque Country was to appoint Mrs. Elena as temporary worker for the Basque Health Service (in particular for the substitution of the chief of psychiatry services in the hospital Santiago de Vitoria) for the remaining period until the fulfillment of the six (6) months period of the vacant position.

Durante un proceso de selección de personal para el Servicio de Salud Vasco, en particular para la sustitución del jefe de servicios de psiquiatría en el Hospital Santiago de Vitoria por un período de seis (6) meses, la Sra. Elena, que había tenido un bebé quince (15) días antes del proceso de selección mencionado anteriormente, fue obligada por la autoridad del Servicio Vasco de Salud a renunciar al cargo al que tenía derecho. La autoridad del Servicio Vasco de Salud privó a la Sra. Elena de un puesto que le correspondía y le otorgó la posición a alguien en la lista de reclutamiento temporal. La autoridad del Servicio Vasco de Salud obligó a la Sra. Elena a renunciar al cargo debido a su reciente maternidad cuando había dicho expresamente que quería aceptar ese trabajo. Artículo 48 del Estatuto de los Trabajadores (Estatuto de los Trabajadores) establece un daño al trabajador que ha sido privado de una cita que le corresponde. La licencia de maternidad no es igual a la falta de capacidad para el desempeño de sus funciones para el puesto bajo la ley española. La Ley 30/1999, de 5 de octubre, de selección de trabajadores temporales del Servicio de Salud, no excluye el reclutamiento de una persona durante la licencia de maternidad. La decisión del Tribunal Superior del País Vasco fue designar a la señora Elena como trabajadora temporal del Servicio Vasco de Salud (en particular para la sustitución del jefe de servicios de psiquiatría en el hospital Santiago de Vitoria) por el período restante hasta el cumplimiento del período de seis (6) meses del puesto vacante.

Ação Direta de Inconstitucionalidade 1946 MC/DF Supremo Tribunal Federal (Supreme Federal Court of Brazil) (2003)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal or “STF”) reviewed the constitutionality of the 1998 Amendment 20 of the Federal Social Security Law. The amendment imposed a maximum value on the amount of social security benefits that could be paid to a beneficiary under the general social security system at R$1,200 per month. On its face, the R$1,200 maximum applied equally to a number of eligible benefit categories, including maternity or pregnancy-related leave. The amendment was challenged on the grounds that, when read together with Article 7, Section XVIII, of the 1988 Brazilian Constitution, the amendment had a discriminatory effect on women. This provision essentially guarantees that an employee is paid her full salary during maternity leave. By imposing a cap on social security coverage during maternity leave, Amendment 20 would require the employer to cover the difference between the R$1,200 cap and the employee’s full pay. The party challenging the amendment argued that this created a negative incentive to employers who would discriminate in hiring women or in setting women’s salary by paying women less in order to stay under the R$1,200 cap. The Court agreed that Amendment 20 was discriminatory in its effect. In a unanimous decision, the STF held that the effect of Amendment 20 conflicted with the Brazilian Constitution’s equal protection provisions that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex. The Court therefore ordered that Amendment 20 be interpreted in a manner consistent with the Article 7 of the Constitution such that implementation of the social security cap does not extend to maternity and pregnancy-related leave.

O Supremo Tribunal Federal – STF, ao analisar a constitucionalidade da Emenda Constitucional n. 20/1998 que modificou as regras da previdência social brasileira. Referida Emenda Constitucional estabeleceu um limite máximo para os benefícios da previdência social em R$ 1.200,00 por mês. Nesse sentido, o teto de R$ 1.200,00 se aplicava igualmente a várias categorias de benefícios elegíveis, incluindo licença maternidade ou relacionadas à gravidez. A emenda foi contestada com base no fato de que, lida em conjunto com o artigo 7, inciso XVIII, da Constituição Brasileira de 1988, a emenda teve um efeito discriminatório sobre as mulheres. Esta disposição garante essencialmente que uma funcionária receba seu salário integral durante a licença-maternidade. Ao impor um teto à cobertura da seguridade social durante a licença-maternidade, a Emenda 20/98 exigiria que o empregador cobrisse a diferença entre o teto de R$ 1.200 e o salário integral da empregada. A parte que contesta a emenda argumentou que isto criou um incentivo negativo para empregadores que discriminariam na contratação de mulheres ou na fixação do salário das mulheres, pagando às mulheres menos para permanecerem abaixo do teto de R$ 1.200. O Tribunal concordou que a Emenda 20/98 era discriminatória em seu efeito. Em uma decisão unânime, o STF considerou que o efeito da Emenda 20/98 conflitava com as disposições de proteção igualitária da Constituição brasileira, que proíbe a discriminação com base no gênero. Portanto, o STF determinou que a Emenda 20/98 fosse interpretada de forma coerente com o artigo 7 da Constituição, de modo que a imposição do teto da previdência social não se estendesse à licença maternidade e à licença relacionada à gravidez.

Affaire B.S. C/ Comission de P Court of Appeal of Burkina Faso at Ouagadougou (2003)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The Court found that the employer had acted inconsistently in offering Mrs. B.S. one-month extensions on her fixed term contract and then ending her contract at a time when she would otherwise have begun maternity leave on the grounds that there were no more project-related funds to cover her employment. This inconsistent behavior supported the finding that Mrs. B.S. had been unfairly dismissed because of pregnancy. Under Article 33 of the Labor Code, the Court awarded damages to Mrs. B.S. for unfair dismissal. Furthermore, the Court faulted the employer for having violated Article 84 of the Labor Code which states that pregnant employees must enjoy maternity benefits under the Caisse Nationale de Sécurité Sociale, including 14 weeks of paid leave, and awarded Mrs. B.S. the maternity benefits that she would have received had she not been unfairly dismissed.


Analysis of the precedents of the Cantonal Courts on the Gender Equality Act (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination, Sexual harassment

The study is an in-depth analysis of 190 records of cantonal conciliation hearings and judgments under the Federal Gender Equality Act, 1996 (the “Act”) over the period of 2004 to 2015 by authors Karine Lempen (Law Professor, University of Geneva) and Aner Voloder (Lawyer, Office for Gender Equality of the Municipality of Zurich). Among the major findings and conclusions reached in the study are the following:

Proceedings under the Act are nearly always brought by private individuals (mainly women) and very rarely by organizations, notwithstanding the provision of the Act authorizing court actions relating to gender discrimination to be brought by organizations. Individuals bringing a case of gender discrimination to the courts most commonly complain of pay discrimination or discriminatory dismissal, and in the vast majority of cases employment has ceased before the court issues its judgment. Bringing an action under the Act very often entails losing one's job. Almost one-third of discrimination cases relate to pregnancy or maternity, with discrimination often occurring on return to work after maternity leave and the mother being dismissed by the employer. Discriminatory or constructive dismissal cases are often adjudged solely under Swiss employment laws rather than under the specific provisions of the Act. In some cases this has resulted in a failure to relax the plaintiff’s burden of proof as provided in the Act. Most persons bringing proceedings for gender-based discrimination do not win their cases, with the analysis showing that 62.5% of rulings enforcing the Act find mostly or entirely against the claiming employee. Similarly, it is not unusual for the employee in the action to be ordered to pay costs which may amount to several thousand Swiss francs. The protection in the Act against constructive dismissal has proved to be fairly ineffective in practice, with court actions rarely being brought under that provision and all but one of such actions failing. The failure rate is particularly high (82.8%) when the alleged form of discrimination is sexual harassment, with the courts often failing to recognize that the intention of procuring sexual favors is not necessary to a finding of a hostile working environment, and therefore of sexual harassment under the Act. Moreover, it is rare for judgments to assess the extent to which the employer has met its obligation to prevent harassment. The special compensation allowed under the Act for sexual harassment is rarely awarded.

Based on the conclusions reached in the study, the authors make a number of recommendations -- for amendments to the Act and other specific legislative changes, improved training of the judiciary with regard to the Act, actions by Swiss equality offices (including improved data collection, more in-depth study of maternity-based discrimination in Switzerland and actions to raise awareness generally of the Act and the rights it provides), and universities (to require study of the Act as part of the bachelor’s degree course of study in law) -- in order to improve access to justice for people discriminated against on grounds of gender in working life.