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The information contained on this page represents the situation as of 1 January 2012 and is a summary of the country report produced by the country expert from the network. The summary can be downloaded here as well.

David Zahumensky

Country context

Society in the Czech Republic, a country with a population of 10 million, has become increasingly homogenous in its post-war history. In 1945, as part of the post-Second World War settlements, legislation was approved to expatriate most Germans (the largest minority in Czechoslovakia), as well as Hungarians. Most members of the Czechoslovak Roma and Jewish populations perished in German concentration camps, and many members of the Jewish minority who survived the Holocaust were expatriated as German nationals.

Main principles and definitions

Definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, sexual harassment and harassment, as well as indirect discrimination on the ground of disability are included in the Anti-discrimination Law. The legislation protects against discrimination against natural persons, but this protection does not apply to legal persons.

Enforcing the law

The system of laws provides for civil, criminal and administrative enforcement, but in practice civil enforcement is believed to be the only effective method. Cases of civil disputes relating to discrimination are given great importance by the media, and this is the only type of enforcement where the victim can obtain financial compensation for non-material damages.

Main legislation

The Czech Republic has ratified all the instruments for combating discrimination in the two main international human rights systems, the United Nations and the Council of Europe, including the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education, ILO Convention No. 111 and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The country is also a party to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The national legal system is framed by the Czech Constitution, which refers to the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Czech Republic as a part of the constitutional provisions.

Material scope

The Czech anti-discrimination provisions implementing the directives cover labour relations, including employment and working conditions, dismissals and pay, membership and involvement in an organisation of workers or employers, in both the public and private sectors. They also cover access to employment (job recruitment, re-qualification etc.), on all grounds included in the EU anti-discrimination directives—sex, race and ethnicity, religion, disability (state of health), age and sexual orientation.

Equality bodies

The equality body in the Czech Republic was established with effect from 01.12.2009. The Anti-discrimination Law does not establish a new body but awards the functions required by Article 13 of Directive 2000/43/EC to the Public Defender of Rights (Czech ombudsman).

Within the anti-discrimination legislation, the Public Defender of Rights contributes to combating racism and xenophobia and to the promotion of equal treatment of all persons, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion or faith. It can provide independent assistance to victims, conduct research and publish independent reports, and make recommendations.

Go to the European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities This initiative is financed by the EC Programme Progress. But the views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.