Latest update: 04/10/2017

Directive 2000/78/EC - equal treatment

of 27 November 2000, establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation


The objective of the Directive is to put in place a general framework to ensure equal treatment of individuals in the European Union, regardless of their religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, as regards access to employment or occupation and membership of certain organisations.


This Directive shall apply to all persons in relation to:

  • conditions of access to employed or self-employed activities, including promotion;
  • access to all types and to all levels of vocational guidance, vocational training, advanced vocational training and retraining;
  • employment and working conditions (including pay and dismissals);
  • membership of, and involvement in, an organisation of employers or workers or any other organisation whose members carry on a particular profession.

These principles apply to the public sector and the private sector as well as for paid and unpaid work. The Directive aims to combat both direct discrimination and indirect discrimination.

Read the full text of the consolidated version of the Directive (including corrections for certain languages)

Read the full text of the original Directive (without corrections)

National laws implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

See also Directive 2008/104/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on temporary agency work

See also the study "Enforcement of fundamental workers’ rights" requested by the European Parliament in 2012.