Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for
equal treatment in employment and occupation
Official Journal L 303 , 02/12/2000 P. 0016 - 0022
Council Directive 2000/78/EC
of 27 November 2000
establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation
THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,
Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 13 thereof,
Having regard to the proposal from the Commission(1),
Having regard to the Opinion of the European Parliament(2),
Having regard to the Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee(3),
Having regard to the Opinion of the Committee of the Regions(4),
(1) In accordance with Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union, the European Union is founded on
the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule
of law, principles which are common to all Member States and it respects fundamental rights, as
guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, as
general principles of Community law.
(2) The principle of equal treatment between women and men is well established by an important body
of Community law, in particular in Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the
implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to
employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions(5).
(3) In implementing the principle of equal treatment, the Community should, in accordance with Article
3(2) of the EC Treaty, aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality between men and women,
especially since women are often the victims of multiple discrimination.
(4) The right of all persons to equality before the law and protection against discrimination constitutes
a universal right recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, United Nations Covenants
on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and by the European
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which all Member States
are signatories. Convention No 111 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) prohibits
discrimination in the field of employment and occupation.
(5) It is important to respect such fundamental rights and freedoms. This Directive does not prejudice
freedom of association, including the right to establish unions with others and to join unions to defend
(6) The Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers recognises the importance of
combating every form of discrimination, including the need to take appropriate action for the social and
economic integration of elderly and disabled people.
(7) The EC Treaty includes among its objectives the promotion of coordination between employment
policies of the Member States. To this end, a new employment chapter was incorporated in the EC
Treaty as a means of developing a coordinated European strategy for employment to promote a skilled,
trained and adaptable workforce.
(8) The Employment Guidelines for 2000 agreed by the European Council at Helsinki on 10 and 11
December 1999 stress the need to foster a labour market favourable to social integration by
formulating a coherent set of policies aimed at combating discrimination against groups such as
persons with disability. They also emphasise the need to pay particular attention to supporting older
workers, in order to increase their participation in the labour force.