Title: The protection from discrimination and harassment by association in EU law: ECJ judgment of 17 July 2008, Coleman (C-303/06, ECR 2008 p.I-5603)

Authors: Jérémy Brottes

Addresses: Luxembourg Bar, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, 24, avenue Marie-Thérèse, L-2132, Luxembourg

Abstract: In Coleman, the ECJ ruled that the protection from discrimination and harassment against disabled persons as enshrined in Directive 2000/78/EC is to be extended to any individuals associated with such disabled persons. In so doing, by a purposive interpretation of Directive 2000/78/EC, the ECJ extended the ratione personae scope of the principle of equal treatment in the field of occupation and employment. The introduction of the concept of associative discrimination is innovative and subject to multiple applications in fields other than employment and on other grounds than disability. It also contributes to the effectiveness of the fight against all forms of discrimination and harassment in the EU. It not only promotes the social integration of disabled people, it also gives the opportunity to reflect on the employer's obligations to grant some kind of flexible working arrangement triggered by a third-party to an employment contract.

Keywords: protection from discrimination; protection from harassment; by association; associative discrimination; EU law; handicap; disabled persons; EU Directive 2000/78/EC; employment; occupation; equality; European Court of Justice; ECJ; persons with disabilities; equal treatment; social integration; employer obligations; flexible working.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRCS.2013.052769

International Journal of Human Rights and Constitutional Studies, 2013 Vol.1 No.1, pp.85 - 90

Published online: 15 Mar 2013 *

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