No. 166-168-22

no. 07-00-183/2022-02 date: 12. 9. 2022.




The opinion was issued in the proceedings regarding the complaints of the non-governmental organization …, on behalf of and with the consent of A. A. and B. B, against SC V. which operates within the sports company G, due to discrimination based on Roma nationality. In the complaints, it was stated, among other things, that in the middle of 2019, the complainants, together with two other women belonging to the Roma national minority, were engaged in the performance of the job of maintaining hygiene in SC V., which is managed by SPD G, within the measure of work activation of work capable beneficiaries of monetary social assistance. It was further stated that in the second half of 2021, after the change in the management structure in SC V, there was a change in the attitude towards the complainants and other employed women belonging to the Roma national minority: the communication of the superiors with the workers was reduced or absent, they were verbally addressed with baseless remarks on their work, while efforts were also made to reduce their contact with other members of the staff; they were provided with two special cups for coffee, as well as that on December 3, 2021, they were informed in a telephone conversation that the need for employment of all four Roma women has ended, while the need for employment of a gardener who is not of Roma nationality has not ended. In the statement of SPD G., it was specified, among other things, that the need for women to work on maintaining hygiene ceased due to the reduction in the volume of work caused by the pandemic and the conclusion of a contract on hygiene maintenance with an agency, based on public procurement, while the separation of coffee cups was a “precautionary measure” due to the pandemic. During the proceedings, the Commissioner analyzed the allegations from the complaint, statements, and witness testimonials. Analyzing the allegations from the statement regarding the need to reduce the number of workers engaged in hygiene work due to the reduction in the volume of work, the Commissioner stated that SPD G. has not provided evidence to support these claims.  SPD G. did not conduct an analysis that would precede the rationalization of the number of employees. On the contrary, at a time when, according to their own allegations, there was a reduction in the scope of work, SPD G. concluded a contract with the agency “…” whose activity is maintaining the hygiene of facilities, and consequently both the complainant and the employees of the agency “…” work on these tasks. In addition, it was established that during 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic was at its peak, and attendance at the facility was lower due to the state of emergency, there was no reduction in the scope of work and possible rationalization of the employed persons. The Commissioner also assessed the statement that SPD G. was obliged to carry out public procurement because it is a user of public funds. However, it is unclear for what reason public procurement is being carried out only in 2021, although SPD G. has managed the SC V facility since 2019 when the complainant’s employment began. Also, public procurement was never organized for the gardening job, because, according to the statement, it did not exist in the centralized system of public procurement. Bearing in mind the above, it can be stated that the termination of the employment of the complainants was not due to the obligation to conduct public procurement or the reduction in the volume of work that occurred due to the Coronavirus pandemic. SPD G did not submit evidence from which it could be concluded that the termination of the complainant’s employment was justified and necessary and that it was not caused by the complainant’s nationality, in the sense of Article 45 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. Furthermore, the Commissioner also analyzed the allegations from the statement that SPD G. as well as employees of the company V. did not discriminate against the complainants by separating them from the staff, preventing them from using common premises and drinking coffee from specially designated cups, and that this created a hostile and degrading environment for the complainants, as well as that this was not the intention of others male and female colleagues. The Commissioner also analyzed statements that the need that they drink from special cups was a consequence of the need to protect against the Coronavirus. However, SPD G. did not submit evidence from which it could be unequivocally established that the reason for this behavior was health protection, because they did not submit an act or instruction that prescribes this or other evidence that would indicate that the above referred to all employees. This is supported by the fact that in 2020, during the state of emergency due to the Coronavirus, such a ban or separation did not exist, but rather only after the change of administration, which the complainants describe in detail in the complaint, as well as the witnesses. Also, the fact that the termination of employment was communicated to the complainants by telephone, without providing an additional explanation or giving them the opportunity to express their opinion on it, speaks about the relation towards the employees in the company V. Taking into account all the above, the Commissioner issued the opinion that SPD G. discriminated against A. A. and B. B. on the basis of their nationality, thus violating the provisions of Arts. 6 and 12. in connection with Art. 24 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination. The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality recommended that SPD G remove the consequences of discriminatory treatment by rehiring A. A. and B. B, send a written apology to A. A. and B. B. due to the discriminatory behavior of SPD G. employees in the SC V facility, organize training for all employees in SPD G. on the topic of prohibition of discrimination and protection against discrimination, with special reference to the position and challenges faced by the Roma population, as well as ensure that in the future, when carrying out their activities, they do not violate the provisions of anti-discrimination regulations.

Brankica Janković

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