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The diversity question is framed by an European legal context with namely the anti-discrimination directives that have been transposed into national law.

In Luxembourg, there are thus 7 legal criteria fixed by law and transposed into the Labour Code.

Equality between women and men as well as pregnancy and maternity are also protected by the Luxembourg law.

The Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

The Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg of 17 October 1868 must be respected by all other standards: laws, regulations, etc. It is therefore of paramount importance in the domestic legal order. The principle of equality is enshrined first of all in Article 10 bis paragraph 1: "Luxembourgers are equal before the law".

There is an article 111 which provides that "any foreigner who is in the territory of the Grand Duchy has the protection accorded to persons and property, subject to the exceptions established by law".

There is also a constitutional principle of equality between men and women, proclaimed by article 11, paragraph 2, of the Constitution in the following terms: "Women and men are equal in rights and duties. The State ensures that it actively promotes the removal of any obstacles to equality between women and men".

The Act of 28 November 2006 on equal treatment

The law of 28 November 2006 transposes two European directives into Luxembourg law, namely:

  • a first on the implementation of the principle ofequal treatment between persons irrespective of whether or not they belong to a racial or ethnic origin (Directive 2000/43/EC);
  • a second establishing a general framework forequal treatment in employment and occupation (Directive 2000/78/EC).

Thus, this law amends the Luxembourg Labour Code and introduces a new Title V onequal treatment in employment and occupation into Book II of the Luxembourg Labour Code. It also amends articles 454 and 455 of the Criminal Code on racialdiscrimination and the Act of 12 September 2003 on persons with disabilities. The principle of prohibition ofdiscrimination is found in article L.251-1 of the Labour Code, which stipulates that "any direct or indirectdiscrimination based onreligion or convictions,disability, age,sexual orientation, membership or non-membership, real or supposed, of arace or ethnic group is prohibited".

The Act of 7 November 2017

The law of 7 November 2017 completing the transposition of Directive 2014/54/EU of 16 April 2014 on measures to facilitate the exercise of the rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers amends the amended law of 28 November 2006. 

The criteria ofdiscrimination based on nationality is added to the list of grounds of discrimination

Scope of the Labour code

In the field of labour and employment, the Labour Code states in article L. 251-2 that the Act applies to all workers whose labour relations are governed by the status of private employee, in relation to:

  1. conditions for access to employment, self-employment and occupation, including selection criteria and recruitment conditions, whatever the branch of activity and at all levels of the professional hierarchy, including promotion;
  2. access to all types and to all levels of vocational guidance, vocational training, retraining and development, including the acquisition of a practical experience;
  3. the employment and working conditions, including dismissal and remuneration conditions;
  4. affiliation to, 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.
The Criminal Code

The Criminal Code also stipulates the repression ofdiscrimination in articles 454 and seq.

According to article 454 of the Criminal Code: "constitutesdiscrimination any distinction made between natural persons at the rate of their origin, colour of skin,gender,sexual orientation, marital status, of their age, their State of health,disability, of their manners, their political or philosophical opinions, their trade union activities, their belonging or not belonging, real or supposed, to an ethnic group, a nation, arace or a religion".

Also constitutesdiscrimination any distinction made between legal persons, groups or communities of people, for these same reasons, members or some members of these legal persons, groups or communities.

The criminal proceedings will be reserved for serious or systematic cases, most of the time the disputes will be settled by the labour courts.

The Centre for equal treatment (CET)

The Centre forequal treatment (CET) was established by the law of 28 November 2006. This organisation carries out its duties with complete independence and aims to promote, analyse and monitor equality of treatment of all persons withoutdiscrimination based onrace or ethnic origin, sex,sexual orientation,religion or belief,disability and age.

For further information: www.cet.lu

Equality of treatment between men and women

According to the section L. 241-1 of the Labour Code, as introduced by the law of 13 May 2008 on equality of treatment between men and women: "any discrimination based on sex, either directly or indirectly by reference, inter alia, marital or family status is prohibited".

In general, the prohibition of anydiscrimination based on sex, also calledgender, is under the same rules as the other forms ofdiscrimination. The definitions of the various types ofdiscrimination are similar. The scope of the prohibition is the same.

Protection of pregnancy and maternity

It is important to note that section L. 241-4 of the Labour Code provides specific protection for women during pregnancy and maternity, since it provides that "the provisions relating to the protection of pregnancy and motherhood do not constitutediscrimination, but a condition for the realization of equality of treatment between men and women”.

Source: "Prevention ofdiscrimination within the company

The respect ofHuman rights and human dignity is one of the EU’s fundamental values. Together with the principles of equality, democracy and the rule of law, it guides the EU’s actions both inside and outside its borders. The measures taken in this area are mainly aimed at:

  • fightingdiscrimination,racism andxenophobia
  • protecting vulnerable groups, such as children, women and minorities.

The charter of fundamental rights compiles thefundamental rights that are protected in the EU in one single document. It applies to the EU institutions, subject to the principle of subsidiarity, and cannot extend the powers and prerogatives that are conferred by treaties. It also applies to EU countries when they implement EU legislation.

Based on the European Convention onHuman rights of the Council of Europe and initially proclaimed in 2000, the charter has become binding for the EU with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009. 

In 2000, two directives were adopted: the Employment Equality Directive, which forbids anydiscrimination on the grounds ofsexual orientation, religiousbeliefs, age anddisability in the field of employment, and the Racial Equality Directive, which forbids anydiscrimination on the grounds ofrace or ethnic origin, in the field of employment, but also in the access to the social security system and social benefits as well as to goods and services.

In 2009, the Lisbon Treaty introduced a horizontal clause to integrate the fight againstdiscrimination into all of the EU’s policies and actions (article 10 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union)

These 6non-discrimination criteria determined by the above mentioned directives are forbidden within the 28 Member States. However, several Member States cover wider criteria in their national legislation.

Thus, in France the Human Rights Defender is in charge of fighting discriminations in the field of employment, housing, education and the access to goods and services, based on 25 criteria forbidden by law, including physical appearance, the surname or the ability to express oneself in a language other than French. 

In Belgium, there are 19 criteria that are protected by legislation, such as wealth (financial ressources), birth and social origin.

Germany counts 8 criteria that do not justify adiscrimination or privilege granted to an individual, including ancestry and language.