The European Union Antidiscrimination Law: from Prohibition of Wage Discrimination to the General Principle of Equality




The article provides an illustration of the EU antidiscrimination law through analysis of the concept of equality in the EU legal system. The analysis concentrates on the notion of equality and non-discrimination with respect to six protected characteristics (sex/gender, age, disability, racial and ethnic origin, religion/belief and sexual orientation) in the EU primary and secondary law as well as in the doctrine. It pays specific attention to the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The equality principle has longstanding roots, plays different roles in the EU legal system and has undergone the evolutionary change from market-oriented rule to the general principle of EU law. The article seeks to draw out the fact that thanks to the excessive interpretation of the concept of equality by the CJEU the Union antidiscrimination law has evolved into an independent set of legal norms. The result is the extension of the protection against discrimination beyond the concept of the EU citizenship; though, it still requires further development to be fully effective.