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Are employers allowed to terminate the employment contract of an institution’s em-ployee if it turns out that they have a political affiliation different from that of the manager, that they belong to a congregation or that they have a partner of the same sex?

No. The principle of equal treatment applies equally to the public and private sectors. This is based on the understanding that all people are equal in terms of rights and may develop their abilities and make choices without restrictions arising from prejudice. A person’s ability to work does not depend on their party affiliation, religion or sexual orientation.

If an employer treats people who belong to a party, follow a religion or are gay, lesbian or bisexual less favourably than other employees when making HR decisions, this is discrimination on the grounds of beliefs or sexual orientation (clause 2 (2) 2) of the Equal Treatment Act) and is prohibited.

Exceptions to the principle of equal treatment can be applied only for the reasons permitted by law.

According to both the Employment Contracts Act and the Civil Service Act, an employment contract may only be cancelled or a service relationship terminated on the grounds provided for by law, which also means that the reason for termination may not be beliefs, religion or sexual orientation.

This explanation does not constitute legal aid in a specific case. Therefore, if you feel that you have been treated unequally, but you did not find a solution to your problem in this article, or if you have a question, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at avaldus@volinik.ee or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.