Which job offer is considered discriminatory?

21. 8. 2023

The Czech Supreme Administrative Court is currently considering whether a non-gender-neutral job advertisement does have to be considered discriminatory. If it agrees with the decision of the court of first instance, this would be a revolutionary change in the assessment of such advertisements.

In ongoing proceedings, the court is dealing with a situation where the Czech Medical Chamber posted an advertisement on its Facebook page describing the job as "full-time administrative assistant - assistant to the review board" (in Czech a female variant of the word “assistant”). However, the State Labor Inspection Office was of the opinion that the advertisement was "discriminatory in terms of gender" and on that basis fined the Chamber CZK 15,000 for violating the prohibition of discrimination. Moreover, the law allows the imposition of a fine of up to CZK 1,000,000 for this offence. The State Labor Inspection Office based its decision on the legal opinion of the Regional Labor Inspection Office for the Capital City of Prague, that the wording of the advertisement "unquestionably implies" that the Chamber is only looking for women for the position in question.

However, the Regional Court cancelled the fine in its decision last November. In its view, it was merely a permissible expressive shortcut and the decision of the administrative authorities was "excessively formalistic." The Labor Inspectorate has lodged a cassation complaint against this decision and the Supreme Administrative Court will have to take a position on the situation.

What is particularly interesting about this dispute is that the Regional Court's decision contradicts the long-standing and generally accepted opinion of the State Labor Inspection Office and the Ombudsman that a job offer that is not gender-neutral must be considered discriminatory and contrary to the requirements of the Employment Act and the Anti-Discrimination Act.

If the Supreme Administrative Court upholds the Regional Court's judgment, this will be a positive change from the point of view of employers, which will ease the fulfilment of their obligations and prevent the Labor Inspectorate from imposing fines that may be based on a simple distraction. The Labor Inspectorate inspects individual advertisements mainly on the basis of notifications from potential employees and has, until now, regularly issued fines for the publication of discriminatory advertisements. Although this may be a "small thing" from the employer's point of view, it is an obligation that must be insisted on and carefully monitored.

However, for the time being, it is still necessary to publish all job advertisements in a gender-neutral version, e.g. "salesperson", but (still in theory) depending on the decision of the Supreme Administrative Court, this requirement may no longer be necessary.

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