en
lt
What is Equal Opportunities?

What is Equal Opportunities?

It is the implementation of human rights despite one's gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin, religion. Inherent human rights are regulated by international human and civil rights documents and laws of the Republic of Lithuania. 

Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson investigates residents' complaints on these grounds of discrimination:

  • gender
  • race
  • nationality
  • language
  • origin
  • social status*
  • belief
  • convictions or views
  • age
  • sexual orientation
  • disability
  • ethnic origin
  • religion

*Social status means education or qualification acquired by a natural person or his studies at research and education establishments, his property, income, need for state support provided for in legal acts and/or other factors related to the financial/economic situation of the person. 

 

Discrimination means any direct or indirect discrimination, harassment, instruction to discriminate on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion, as well as sexual harassment on grounds of sex.  

Types of discrimination: 

Direct discrimination means any situation where one person is treated less favourably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. 

Indirect discrimination means any act or omission, legal provision or assessment criterion, apparently neutral provision or practice that formally are the same but their implementation or application results or would result in de facto restrictions on the exercise of rights or extensions of privileges, preferences or advantages on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion, unless that act or omission, legal provision or assessment criterion, provision or practice is justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary. 

Harassment means any unwanted conduct which occurs with the purpose, or effect, of violating the dignity of a person, and of creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. 

Sexual harassment means any form of unwanted and insulting verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature with a person, with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment.

An instruction to discriminate directly or indirectly against a person on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion shall be deemed to be discrimination. 

Equal opportunities must be implemented by (the domains of application):  

  • state and municipal institutions and agencies; 
  • educational establishments, research and education providers; 
  • employers of all types of ownership; 
  • sellers or producers of goods and providers of services; 
  • organisations of employers or employees, organisations (associations). 

Discrimination can be identified when there is a match between the grounds of forbidden discrimination of a person, as established in the legal acts, and the domain where discrimination is illegal (see picture below).  

 

The provisions of the Law on Equal Treatment and the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men shall not apply to: 

  • family and private life; 
  • religious communities, associations and centres, organisations established by them or their members on purpose to implement their goals; 
  • cases where organisations uniting individuals on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion decide on membership of, or employment in, these organisations, provided it is genuine, legitimate and justified in relation to the common ground of an organisation; 
  • mass media content. 

 What is NOT discrimination on grounds of sex according to the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men?

  • Special protection of women during pregnancy, childbirth and nursing; 

  • different cases for fulfilling military conscription for men and women;

  • different pensionable age for women and men; 

  • different requirements for physical training, safety and health at work;

  • a certain job that can be performed only by a person of a particular sex;

  • specific temporary measures set forth by laws are applied with a view to accelerating the guaranteeing of factual equality between women and men and which must be repealed upon implementation of equal rights and equal opportunities for women and men;

  • different procedure and conditions of implementation of certain penalties;

  • the sale of goods or the provision of services solely to, or in particular to, persons of one sex is justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary. 

What is NOT discrimination according to the Law on Equal Treatment? 

  • Restrictions on the grounds of age as established by laws where it is justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary;

  • requirement to know the state language as established by laws;

  • prohibition of participation in political activities in the cases specified by laws;

  • different rights applied on the basis of citizenship as established by laws;

  • special measures in the field of health care, safety at work, employment, labour market as established by laws with the view of creating and applying conditions and opportunities guaranteeing and promoting integration into the working environment;

  • special temporary measures, as established by laws, which are taken to ensure equality and prevent violation of equal treatment on the grounds of gender, race, nationality, language, origin, social status, belief, convictions or views, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion;

  • where, by reason of the nature of the particular occupational activities concerned or of the context in which they are carried out, a particular human characteristic constitutes an essential and determining occupational requirement, provided that the aim is legitimate and the requirement is proportionate;

  • where the legal regulation of restrictions, special requirements or certain conditions relating to the social status of a person is justified by a legitimate aim, and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary; 

  • organisation of separate sports competitions for the disabled. 

 

Agneta Skardžiuvienė

Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania

Curriculum Vitae