AA filed a complaint with the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, through attorney Dangubić Branislav from Vršac, against BB, director of RAMAC, Western Balkans in the company VV, due to discrimination based on gender and family status. The complaint stated that at the beginning of January 2021, the then manager sent AA to attend professional training as a form of reward for exceptional work so far. On the initiative of AA, it was agreed with the organizer of the activity that the recording of the complete training should be handed over to VV, so that all employees could familiarize themselves with the training and apply the novelties in practice. It was also indicated that only employees who directly attended the training would receive a training certificate after completing the training. On May 17, 2021, in correspondence with the new manager BB, AA, who was on her annual leave at the time, but was also working online, was informed that she would not attend the training that is being conducted on May 19-20, 2021, because she will be absent for a more extended period due to her pregnancy, and therefore another colleague has been sent to the training. In the statement and supplement to the statement, BB contested the allegations from the complaint, stating that the reason AA was not sent to the training was not her pregnancy but that the employer’s needs were such that it was necessary for the knowledge acquired in practice to be applied immediately, as well as that Jelena, due to medical reasons, announced that she would take a maternity leave immediately after the end of the annual leave. She believes that there was no unequal positioning or discrimination in this case because the entire training content was available to all employees via the company’s internal network. She stated that it is not the company’s practice to allow employees who are on leave to go to education and that the complainant was offered the option of being a direct attendee of the same or another suitable course as soon as the conditions are met (health, the employer’s needs, the possibility of applying the acquired knowledge, etc.). After carrying out the procedure, using the rules on shifting the burden of proof, and especially bearing in mind the provisions of the Law on Gender Equality that was in force at the time of the disputed event, which stipulates that absence from work due to pregnancy and parenthood must not be an obstacle to professional development, the Commissioner gave the opinion that in this case the provisions of Articles 6 and 16, in connection with Article 20 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination were violated. Therefore, a recommendation was sent to BB to take all necessary measures to eliminate the consequences of discriminatory treatment towards VV, by enabling Jelena Jović, upon her return to work, to attend the “Advance CMC masterclass” education and receive a certificate of completed training, as well as ensure that, in the future, she does not violate anti-discrimination regulations in her regular jobs and activities.
COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY