Racial discrimination

Is any distinction, exclusion, restriction, preference or omission based on race, colour, descent, nationality or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing, directly or indirectly, the recognition, equal enjoyment or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in international law. (ICERD)

Direct discrimination (as of the Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin)

Occurs where one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on grounds of racial or ethnic origin.

[explanatory: This refers to an act where one person, for example, is treated less favourably than another solely on grounds of perceived immutable difference (as specified in the RED definition of racism)]

Definitions as of the Council Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin:

Indirect discrimination  

Occur where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice would put persons of a racial or ethnic origin at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons, unless that provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.

[explanatory:  This refers to a situation where an act, although not directly discriminatory, nevertheless has a disproportionately negative effect on those who belong to a particular group or groups perceived as immutably different from the person(s) responsible for the act.]



Is direct or indirect discrimination, when an unwanted conduct related to racial or ethnic origin takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person and of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The concept of harassment may be defined in accordance with the national laws and practice of the Member States.



The 2000/43/EC Anti-Discrimination Directive applies to all persons, as regards both the public and private sectors, including public bodies, in relation to:

(a) conditions for access to employment, to self-employment and to occupation, including selection criteria and recruitment conditions, whatever the branch of activity and at all levels of the professional hierarchy, including promotion;

(b) access to all types and to all levels of vocational guidance, vocational training, advanced vocational training and retraining, including practical work experience;

(c) employment and working conditions, including dismissals and pay;

(d) membership of and involvement in an organisation of workers or employers, or any organisation whose members carry on a particular profession, including the benefits provided for by such organisations;

(e) social protection, including social security and healthcare;

(f) social advantages;

(g) education;

(h) access to and supply of goods and services which are available to the public, including housing.

The Directive does not cover difference of treatment based on nationality and is without prejudice to provisions and conditions relating to the entry into and residence of third-country nationals and stateless persons on the territory of Member States, and to any treatment which arises from the legal status of the third-country nationals and stateless persons concerned.

Member States may provide that a difference of treatment which is based on a characteristic related to racial or ethnic origin shall not constitute discrimination where, by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activities concerned or of the context in which they are carried out, such a characteristic constitutes a genuine and determining occupational requirement, provided that the objective is legitimate and the requirement is proportionate.


Positive action: With a view to ensuring full equality in practice, the principle of equal treatment shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or adopting specific measures to prevent or compensate for disadvantages linked to racial or ethnic origin.