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About Case Law

Case Law

2nd district court in the city of Vilnius
Legal provision Directive 2000/43/EC
Area Employment & training
Form of Discrimination Direct discrimination
Grounds of discrimination Discrimination on ground of racial or ethnic origin
Topic Employer's responsibility, Discrimination by private parties , Situation testing
Employment , Lithuania , Discrimination on ground of racial or ethnic origin .
Key facts of the case:

The plaintiff, an ethnic Roma woman, having a reference from Vilnius Labour Exchange about a vacant dishwashers’ position (issued on 25.10.2007), applied for the position on 29.10.2007. The woman phoned before the interview and was assured that the position was still vacant. During the interview, which lasted less than 10 minutes, the woman was informed that the position was taken. The Human Rights Monitoring Institute conducted discrimination testing during which a woman of Lithuanian ethnicity was hired for the same position a few hours later, which helped prove that the position was still vacant.

Main reasoning/argumentation:

The plaintiff asked the court to find the company guilty of direct discrimination. The company denied that it had been discriminatory and stated that the vacant job position had been taken at the time of the interview. The court, taking into account that a woman of Lithuanian ethnicity was hired the same day and that the plaintiff was not asked about previous job experience or other job-related issues, only whether she lived in the Roma settlement (‘tabore’), concluded that the position was still vacant and that the plaintiff was not hired to work due to the fact that she is an ethnic Roma.

Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case:

Direct discrimination was acknowledged with reference to Council Directive 2000/43/EC (Art. 2.a.) and the Law of Equal Treatment (Art. 2.3). In this case the principle of the reversal of the burden of proof was not applied. Rather, the case was heard based on the principle of competition, which is defined in the Code of Civil Procedure of the Republic of Lithuania (Art. 12). This case was the first in Lithuanian judicial history when a testing procedure helped to prove discriminatory actions.

Results (sanctions) and key consequences or implications of the case:

The court adjudged the joint-stock company guilty of open direct discrimination and ordered it to pay 864.98 Lt (250.51 EUR) for wage loss and 2000 Lt (579.24 EUR) for non-pecuniary damage to the plaintiff. On 01.08.2008 the company filed an appeal.