Resolved investigation proceedings

Discrimination investigation is carried out in line with the administrative procedure based on complaints received by the equality body (the Advocate) from parties (pursuant to Article 33 of PADA) and in proceedings instituted ex officio (Article 34 of PADA).

The Advocate of the Principle of Equality received a complaint against the publisher of the television medium because the host of the talk show Faktor spoke of the differences between races, such as different intelligence quotients, the laziness of the African people, etc. The Advocate recognized race and ethnic background as the personal circumstances based on which individuals are afforded protection from discrimination. The words spoken match the statutory description of incitement to discrimination.

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The Advocate of the Principle of Equality received a motion lodged by a third party based on which he considered possible discrimination regarding the transportation services. A group of funeral attendants needed transport from the Žale Cemetery to the city center. They arranged themselves two taxies to pick them up. The taxies arrived separately. The first driver approached the group of 8-10 people and after a conversation with a potential customer slowly drove away. The second driver observed the situation and then decided to approach the group. As he drove up to them he realized they had a darker skin complexion. He told the dispatcher over the radion that these are migrants and he was not going to give them a ride. The Advocated found that both of the taxi drivers violated the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic background.

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The Advocate of Principle of Equality received a complaint regarding a media release titled Presežki 5 published in a printed magazine Demokracija. The Advocate assessed that the case is relevant for the protection against discrimination based on personal circumstances of race or ethnic backgrounds and religion or belief so the proceedings against the publisher of the printed medium were initiated ex officio. The Advocate found by analyzing the text that the author was justifying ideas of the supremacy or superiority of people according to their race, ethnic background, and religious belief. Such writings violate article 10 of the Protection Against Discrimination Act (incitement towards discrimination). The Advocate also analyzed the text in terms of freedom of speech and concluded it to be an abuse of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The director and executive editor of the weekly periodical Demokracija said that the article is a periodical »satirical piece« and he likened the circumstances of the media article to the journalistic stylistic form »glosa«. The Advocate assessed that justifying the idea of supremacy or superiority of one group over another constitutes discrimination regardless of the genre written in. With the help of a media expert and author of numerous journal publications, the Advocate concluded that the piece Presežki 5 is neither satire nor »glosa« as it does not meet the criteria of this genre.

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The Advocate received an anonymous discrimination complaint to address discrimination occurring in a private company. The company’s criteria for the employee’s entitlement to payment for the company’s business performance was specified in such a way that the percentage of the business performance bonus is reduced according to a predetermined scale in cases of absence due to all health reasons, maternity leave, paternity leave and unpaid leave. The company pursued the objective of reducing the absence of employees from work, which can be a completely legitimate objective, but the Advocate assessed that the means to achieve this objective were not appropriate and necessary. As a result, the Advocate found discrimination on the grounds of parenthood, gender and health status.

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Assessing the discriminatory character of regulations

The provisions of Article 38 of the Protection against Discrimination Act (PADA) grants the Advocate the power to file requests for the review of the constitutionality and legality of regulations before the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Slovenia. If found that any law or other regulation is discriminatory, the Advocate may inform thereof the procedure proposer for the assessment of constitutionality and legality or initiate the procedure for the review
of the constitutionality or legality of a regulation or general act issued for the exercise of public authority.

The Advocate implements the provision by first assessing whether a regulation is discriminatory before deciding on the initiation of the proceeding for the assessment of constitutionality or legality. This is an internal procedure at the Advocate, which is not conducted in the manner of discrimination investigation under the administrative procedure, as the administrative procedure is not intended for the investigation of discrimination existing at the level of regulations.

The Advocate of Principle of Equality received an open letter from the Slovenian Hospitality and Tourism Industry Union complaining that the employees who had not yet been vaccinated for a variety of reasons are presumably discriminated against in various areas. Based on this the Advocate carried out an assessment of the discriminatory character of the Ordinance Temporarily Prohibiting the Offering and Sale Goods and Services to Consumer in the Republic of Slovenia and the Decree on the Implementation of Screening Programs for the Early Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Virus Infection.

The Advocate assessed that vaccination is not similar to sex, age, race, or any other personal circumstance according to its definition as either inherent or acquired personal characteristics, features, conditions, or statuses, which, as a rule, are either permanently and inalienably linked to a particular individual and their personality, in particular, their identity; or cannot easily be changed by the individual. The decision of whether or not to get vaccinated is a personal choice so the Advocate cannot broadly consider it as other personal circumstance. Possible exceptions could be persons who are unable to get vaccinated or are even prohibited from doing so for medical reasons and persons who refuse to get vaccinated on religious grounds or the grounds of a conviction. Such conviction cannot be equated to an opinion on a specific issue, but rather that this refers to a held worldview equivalent to a religion.

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Special reports

In accordance with Article 22 of the Protection against Discrimination Act, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality shall report to the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia about their work and findings on the existence of discrimination involving specific groups of people with certain personal grounds in the framework of special reports.

The purpose of the Special Report is to present how procedures for medical gender identity confirmation and legal gender recognition are currently regulated in Slovenia, as well as the practice of the competent authorities.

The Report serves to draw the attention of the legislator and the public to the importance of respecting human rights and equal rights of persons born with such physical characteristics that – according to established medical and/or societal norms – their sex cannot be defined as female or male.

With this Special Report, the Advocate would like to draw public attention to the situation of persons who are deaf in the process of their inclusion in education, including when seeking the highest attainable levels of education. Equal treatment and equal opportunities of deaf in the realisation of their full potential in the field of education and thus their integration into social life is explored in detail. In accordance with Article 2 of the PADA, education is explicitly listed among areas of social life where discrimination (of groups) of persons with a particular personal ground is prohibited.