Romanian Non-discrimination Legislation

Constitutional provisions

Article 16 of the Constitution of Romania of 1991, as amended in 2003, forbids discrimination based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, sex, opinion, political allegiance, wealth or social background.

Civil and Labour Code

In Romania the issue of discrimination is regulated by a patchwork of different laws. In an effort to comply with EU Directive 2000/43, EC and other international instruments dealing with racial discrimination, the Romanian government issued Ordinance No. 137/2000 on preventing and punishing all forms of discrimination. Its amendment (Ordinance Government No. 77/2003) provides for equal rights in the areas of employment, access to public services, health care, education, residence and the right to personal dignity. This Ordinance forbids discrimination in a wide range of areas and on all the relevant grounds, although age is not fully covered. However, the new Labour Code Act No. 53/2003 forbids discrimination also on the ground of age.

This Ordinance fails to outline how its provisions will be related to the existing provisions on employment, health care, education and social services. Act No. 74/1999 on Ratification of the Revised European Social Charter approved in Strasbourg in 1996, Order of State of the Minister of Labour and Social Solidarity No. 508/2002 and Order of State of the Minister of Health and Family No. 933/2002 on Approval of the General Labour Protection Norms, Act No. 202/2003 on Equal Opportunities between Women and Men, Government Decision No. 967/1999 on the Establishment and Functioning of the Inter-Ministerial Consultative Commission in the Area of Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, Government Decision No. 1273/2000 on the Approval of the National Action Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, Government Decision No. 737/2003 on the Establishment and Functioning of the Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family, all contain anti-discrimination principles. Law No. 27/2004 completed the definition of discrimination, established the concept of harassment and laid down penalties, modes of proof and the right of NGOs to participate in court proceedings.

In addition, Law No. 202/2002 on Equal Opportunities between Women and Men defines the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

Enforcement machinery

Under the Constitution, every person is entitled to bring a case before a court to defend their rights, liberties and interests, and it is possible in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code to seek legal redress in any litigation connected with the conclusion, execution or modification of individual employment contracts. Law No. 48/2002 provides for all discrimination cases that the victim is entitled to seek damages in court proportionate to the harm suffered, as well as to the reestablishment of the situation prior to discrimination, or the termination of the situation created by the discrimination, in accordance with the law.

Romania possesses a special body for hearing discrimination cases. The National Council for Combating Discrimination is an autonomous and independent body without restrictions or subject to the influence of other public institutions or authorities, whose purpose is to receive complaints and punish violations of anti-discrimination principles and provisions. Romania also has an Ombudsperson, whose role is to protect citizens’ rights and freedoms, as well as to formulate, in the periodical reports submitted to Parliament, legislative recommendations and concrete measures.

[1] Prepared by Denisa Pătraşcu, Romania, published by Labour Legislation Network of South Eastern Europe,Second Meeting on: Non-Discrimination in Employment and Occupation, Dubrovnik, 24–25 June 2004,

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