EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


Promotion refers to the advancement of an employee to a higher job classification level or occupational category as part of a career path progression.

It is the employer’s prerogative to promote an employee, subject to the rules of EC law on discrimination which seek to transform the situation whereby relatively fewer women and members of minority groups fill higher occupational categories.

An employer’s failure or decision not to promote an employee based on prohibited grounds will violate a number of directives. For example, the purpose of Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 is to implement the principle of equal treatment for women and men in terms of access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions. Further, ‘there shall be no discrimination whatsoever on grounds of sex in the conditions, including selection criteria, for access to all jobs or posts, whatever the sector or branch of activity, and to all levels of the occupational hierarchy’ (Article 3(1)). Similar provisions exist with regard to implementing equal treatment for persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin (Council Directive 2000/43); and with respect to establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (Council Directive 2000/78). Council Directive 97/81/EC of 15 December 1997 concerning the Framework Agreement on part-time work refers to ‘measures to facilitate access to part-time work at all levels of the enterprise, and where appropriate, to facilitate access by part-time workers to vocational training to enhance career opportunities and occupational mobility’.

See also: Equal; equal opportunities; equal treatment; equality between women and men; non-discrimination principle; part-time work.

Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.
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