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Means of protection in discrimination cases

The Slovak legislation contains a number of provisions that specify what can be done in cases of breach of the equal treatment principle or other violation of the equality principle.

The Antidiscrimination Act in conjunction with some other related laws guarantees a relatively good level of protection in cases of violation of the equal treatment principle.

The benefit of this protection is in a relative broadly defined term of “equal treatment principle”, as it includes not only the protection of discrimination, but also requires behaviour in line with good morals and adoption of preventive measures by persons concerned.

It means that the equal treatment principle is breached not only when employers, companies, schools, state and other public institutions, service providers and other persons concerned discriminate against their employees and clients, but also when they fail to exercise sufficient effort to prevent discrimination (for example, they do not have code of conducts in place to be observed by all their employees which would stringently require that the equal treatment principle is also thoroughly observed by employees, and fail to create such compliance mechanisms; they fail to provide appropriate conditions for disabled employees, even if they can; they ignore hints of harassment or other discriminatory behaviour at workplaces, schools and other institutions, etc.)

Therefore, when we speak about possibilities of legal protection in connection with a breach of the equal treatment principle, it concerns not only protection in cases when actual discrimination has already occurred, but also those cases when no sufficient measures have been taken to prevent it. A failure to take the necessary effort to prevent discrimination may ultimately often lead to its actual occurrence. Employees alone can participate in drafting preventive measures, for example, through collective bargaining with an employer through their trade union representatives.

This protection has one drawback, though; it only applies to a breach of the equal treatment principles on one of the grounds and in one of the areas listed in the Antidiscrimination Act, or specified by some other laws (for example, the School Act, the Labour Code, the Customer Protection Act, etc. – see above).