EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life


Victimisation is discrimination against someone because of their involvement in a discrimination complaint either as the complainant or as a witness, or as someone who has previously been accused and found not guilty of harassment. EU legislation aims to prevent employees or their representatives being victimised as a result of the exercise of their legal rights. For example, Article 9 of Council Directive 2000/43 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin stipulates: ‘Member States shall introduce into their national legal systems such measures as are necessary to protect individuals from any adverse treatment or adverse consequence as a reaction to a complaint or to proceedings aimed at enforcing compliance with the principle of equal treatment’. There is an identical provision in Council Directive 2000/78 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (Article 11).

A specific illustration is where a Member State has opted not to apply the limitation to 48 weekly working hours in Article 6 of Council Directive 93/104/EEC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time (as amended by Directive 2000/34). Article 18(1)(b)(i) nonetheless allows an individual worker to refuse to work more than 48 hours and requires Member States to take ‘the necessary measures to ensure that: …no worker is subjected to any detriment by his employer because he is not willing to give his agreement to perform such work’.

See also: discrimination; dismissals; equal treatment.

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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