Equality and Labour Relations in Georgia: The Need for Legislative Amendments

26 Sep, 2018
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This policy brief is prepared within the framework of the Open Society Georgia Foundation’s in-house project “Monitoring Implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement by the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations”.

Ensuring the equality of certain groups in the sphere of labour relations remains a challenge in Georgia, in terms of legal rights as well as in practice. The legislative framework to address discrimination was established in 2013-2014. However, existing norms do not fully respond to the existing types of discrimination and the scale of inequality. In addition, the norms fall short of the requirements of the European anti-discrimination law.

Consequently, the Public Defender and NGOs call on the government to realize the need to make relevant changes. According to the Public Defender’s
2017 annual report, discrimination or the encouragement of discrimination was established in 16% of the cases heard by the Ombudsman’s office; in 70% of the cases the proceedings have been suspended, as the party in question used an alternative remedy (court), or information (evidence) about the complaint was not provided by the defendant.

According to the same data, the highest number of documented rights violations occurs at the workplace. In this regard, women and persons with disabilities face particular challenges. The employment rate for persons with disabilities is still very low in the public sector (as of 2016, 0.1% of employees are persons with disabilities) and there is no indication that this indicator is improving; exact data from the private sector is not available.

Regarding women, inter alia – gender-based discrimination, including frequent cases of sexual harassment at the workplace, unequal remuneration, termination of employment and low representation of women in decision-making – is particularly problematic.