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Who is protected by gender equality and equal treatment laws?

Unequal treatment is prohibited by law in both the private and public sectors. To ensure equal treatment for women and men, the Gender Equality Act and the Equal Treatment Act have been established to protect both men and women from unequal treatment.

These laws protect people from ill-treatment based on a person’s identity, such as gender or nationality. The Gender Equality Act applies to cases where the characteristics of a person are related to their gender, including pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood, performance of family obligations or other circumstances related to gender. According to the Equal Treatment Act, discrimination can be based on grounds of nationality (ethnic origin), race, colour, religion or other beliefs, age, disability or sexual orientation.

The purpose of these laws is to protect minority groups and the people who belong to them in the areas of life and situations specified in the law.

The requirements of the Gender Equality Act and the Equal Treatment Act apply in almost all areas of life, with some exceptions, such as circumstances involving family, private life and registered religious associations. In addition, it is prohibited to treat people less favourably in an employment relationship due to fulfilment of family responsibilities, social status, representation of the interests of employees, membership in an association of employees, language skills and fulfilment of conscription obligations.

Both laws impose an obligation of equal treatment, meaning that no one may be treated unequally in relation to the characteristics listed in the law (i.e. gender, nationality, etc.). Equal treatment means the absence of unequal treatment.

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.