The term employment protection relates to the statutory protection of employees or workers. Varying provisions for employment protection exist in Member States’ national systems of labour law. However, the absence of general employment protection law at the EU level emphasises discrimination law as a key tool of legal redress in a number of circumstances. If a worker is not hired, not promoted, is dismissed, or treated badly at work, almost the only form of legal redress available is to claim some kind of discrimination.
The development of the law on discrimination can best be understood in relation to the general law on employment protection and industrial relations. The imminent wave of EC discrimination law compares with developments in the United States where employment discrimination law has become the core of individual employment law, partly due to a lack of general employment protection law.