Prohibition of Discrimination Offers Broad Protection for the Self-Employed…

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In a judgment of 12 January 2023, the CJEU confirmed that the refusal to offer further service agreements to a self-employed person, based on the sexual orientation of the service provider, can indeed constitute a prohibited direct discrimination.

The CJEU dealt with a preliminary question from a Polish court concerning the interpretation of Article 3(1)(a) and (c) of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000/78/EC. In this case, the applicant worked on the basis of a number of successive short-term service contracts as a self-employed person for eight years as a developer of audiovisual montages, trailers and feuilletons for Poland’s national public television broadcaster. After he and his partner made a YouTube video clip, promoting tolerance for same-sex partners, showing how same-sex partners celebrate Christmas, the broadcaster ceased to offer him any further service contracts. The applicant brought an action before the court, claiming, among other things, compensation for non-material damage for breach of the principle of equal treatment in the form of direct discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation with regard to the conditions for access to and exercise of an economic activity under a civil law contract.

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