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Main legislation

On the constitutional level discrimination on all personal grounds is prohibited by Article 14 of the Constitution. In 2009 the Constitutional Court confirmed that the Constitution prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation as well, although this ground is not specifically listed in the Constitution. Slovenia ratified all main human rights treaties concerning discrimination, most recently Protocol No. 12 to the European Convention of Human Rights.

 Before the adoption of the EU directives discrimination was already prohibited by penal legislation, that was changed in 2008 with the adoption of the Penal Code, which defines various crimes connected to violations of equal rights (Article 131 – violations of equal rights, Articles 116 and 265 – discriminatory motives in murder and torture, Articles 197, 198 and 202 – violations of equality at employment and social services, and Article 297 – prohibition of incitement to religious or ethnic hatred or hatred based on sexual orientation or other personal circumstances).

After Slovenia became a member state of the European Union and the EU directives entered into force on the Slovenian territory, the Act Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment was adopted in May 2004 as an umbrella anti-discrimination act, in order to transpose (implement) Council Directives 2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC into the national legislation. Furthermore, discrimination was additionally prohibited in the field of employment with Article 6 of the Employment Relationship Act, which entered into force already in January 2003. In 2013 a new Employment Relationship Act was adopted, however the provisions on discrimination have not changed, with the exception of liability for damages which is now defined in more detail.

Concerning disability, the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment of Disabled Persons Act was also adopted in June 2004. This act specifically prohibits discrimination on the grounds of disability and introduces the system of positive measures for the employment of disabled people. In 2010 the Act on Equal Opportunities of People with Disabilities was adopted, governing the duty of appropriate (reasonable) accommodation for people with disabilities. The implementing acts foreseen with this law were still not adopted which impedes the practical implementation of the law.  

The legislation in place prohibits discrimination in all areas of social life, including the areas required by the directives. Discrimination is prohibited on all five grounds required by the directives – race and ethnicity, religion and belief, sexual orientation, age and disability. In addition to that, the legislation prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, and all laws include a general clause “other personal circumstances”, which means that grounds not specifically mentioned in the legislation could also be protected grounds. Specifically, the Employment Relationship Act among the protected grounds mentions social origin, skin colour, health condition, family status, membership in a trade union, and financial situation, which is more than the directives require.

The legislation extends the protection required by race directive to other grounds as well, which means that discrimination is prohibited on all five grounds (and more) in all areas of life, listed by the directive 2000/43/EC, and also in all other areas of life in general. The law has been enforced in practice to a certain extent, but there is still little case law invoking the anti-discrimination legislation. The legislation is being implemented also by the equality body called the Advocate of the Principle of Equality, established pursuant the Act Implementing the Principle of Equal Treatment, in order to examine complaints on discrimination and provide assistance to victims.  

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