The Slovak Parliament on February 14 approved an amendment to the anti-discrimination law that significantly widens the basis on which discrimination is prohibited.
Discrimination is now banned on the basis of gender, religion, creed, race, nationality, ethnicity, physical disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, skin colour, language, political affiliation, national or social origin, or property.
A new area for Slovakia in the anti-discrimination legislation is legal protection against sexual harassment, defined as "verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of sexual nature, the intention or result of which is, or can be, a violation of a person's dignity, and which creates an intimidating, degrading, hostile or offensive environment."
Sexual harassment cases can be brought to the Slovak National Centre for Human Rights or the ombudsman's office.
The amendment also reintroduces affirmative action for disadvantaged groups, but the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and deputy of the opposition SMK László Nagy thinks that by approving the amended proposal, the functionality of law has been harmed.
Opposition Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) MP Daniel Lipšic criticised the introduction of affirmative action, which he calls “positive discrimination”. He thinks that any kind of discrimination is simply that – discrimination.
The amendment will also simplify the burden for proving discrimination and widen the options for defending victims by non-governmental organisations or the Slovak National Center for Human Rights. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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