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Rules prohibiting discrimination in the workplace, regarding equal pay for equal work for men and women and equal pay for work under a contract.

1. Rules prohibiting discrimination in the workplace

Section 16(1) of the Labour Code provides for the principle of equal treatment of all employees by employers (i.e. without distinction as to sex, race, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, religion, etc.) in respect of:

  • working conditions (e.g. adjusting working hours);
  • remuneration for work and other monetary compensation and benefits of monetary value (e.g. bonuses, premiums or benefits);
  • training (e.g. various training courses to improve or deepen skills);
  • the opportunity to achieve a promotion or other employment advancement.

The Labour Code provides, in general, for the prohibition of any discrimination, in particular on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic origin, nationality, citizenship, social origin, gender, language, health, age, religion or belief, property, marital or family status and relationship or obligations to the family, political or other opinion, membership and activity in political parties or political movements, trade unions or employers' organisations. Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy, maternity, paternity or gender identification is considered to be discrimination on the grounds of sex.

The concepts of direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, persecution, instruction to discriminate and incitement to discriminate, and the cases in which differential treatment is permissible are regulated by Act No 198/2009 Coll., on equal treatment and legal means of protection against discrimination and on amendments to certain acts (Anti-Discrimination Act).

Differential treatment is not discrimination if the nature of the work activities shows that differential treatment is an essential requirement for the performance of the work. The purpose pursued by such an exemption must be legitimate and the requirement proportionate. Measures which are justified in order to prevent or compensate for disadvantages resulting from a natural person's membership of a group defined by one of the grounds listed in the Anti-Discrimination Act are also not considered discrimination.

Violation of the principle of equal treatment is a breach of the employer's duty and the employer is obliged to compensate the employee for the damage caused by such conduct.

The means of protection against discrimination are directly regulated by the Anti-Discrimination Act. An employee who has been affected by a violation of rights and obligations arising from the right to equal treatment or the prohibition of discrimination under the Anti-Discrimination Act may claim in court that:

a) discrimination has been refrained from;

b) the effects of the discriminatory interference have been removed; and

c) they have been given adequate compensation.

If such redress is not sufficient, then, if the employee's reputation or dignity or his or her standing in the company has been substantially impaired, the employee is entitled to compensation for non-pecuniary damage. The amount of compensation is determined by the court.

If the employee states facts in court from which it can be inferred that the employer has directly or indirectly discriminated on the basis of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion, belief, world-view, disability, age or sexual orientation, then, pursuant to Section 133a of the Code of Civil Procedure, the facts alleging that the party has been directly or indirectly discriminated against are deemed proved by the court in employment cases, unless the contrary is proved in the proceedings. The burden of proof in such disputes is therefore on the employer. However, the burden of proof shifts to the employer only after the employee alleges and also proves that he or she was actually treated in a discriminatory manner.

An offence is committed by an employer who violates obligations in the area of equal treatment – Section 11 and Section 24 of Act No 251/2005 Coll., on Labour Inspection.

2. Rules on equal pay for equal work for men and women and equal pay for work for employees working under a fixed-term or indefinite-term contract

All employees of an employer are entitled to the same wage, salary or remuneration for the same work or for work of equal value (Section 110(1) of the Labour Code).  Wages and salary are paid according to the complexity, responsibility and exertion of the work, the difficulty of the working conditions, and the performance and results achieved (Article 109(4) of the Labour Code). These criteria are used to assess what constitutes equal work or work of comparable value; it is work of equal or comparable complexity, responsibility and exertion, carried out under equal or comparable working conditions, with equal or comparable work performance and results.

The application of criteria other than those mentioned above in determining the amount of wages, salary or remuneration under the agreement may be considered a violation of the Labour Code. In particular, it is prohibited to differentiate wages, salaries or remuneration based on so-called discriminatory criteria, a demonstrative list of which is contained in Section 16(2) of the Labour Code, e.g. gender, age or sexual orientation.

Whether an employee performs work under a fixed-term or indefinite employment relationship cannot be subsumed under any of the criteria set out in Section 110 of the Labour Code. Different pay for the same work or work of comparable value based on this criterion would therefore be contrary to the law.

An employer who fails to provide an employee with the same wage or salary as another employee for the same work or work of equal value commits an offence under Section 11(1)(a) or Section 26(1)(a) of Act No 251/2005 Coll., on Labour Inspection.

The employee may also seek redress under the Anti-Discrimination Act, as noted above.

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Additional information

Reference to legal acts

Act No 251/2005 Coll., on Labour Inspection

Act No 262/2006 Coll., Labour Code

Civil Procedure Code No 99/1963 Coll.,

Act No 198/2009, on Equal Treatment

Responsible Public Authority

Ministerstvo práce a sociálních věcí
Na Poříčním právu 376/1
Nové Město
12800 Praha 2
Datová schránka: sc9aavg

Last checked at 03.11.2020

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