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Court Awards Romani Victim Full Compensation for Discrimination by Employer

3 April 2006

On 16 November 2005, with ERRC support, a young Romani man won a judgment by the Sofia District Court, finding that the refusal of a private business to hire him constituted direct discrimination based on his ethnicity. The court has awarded Mr Metody Assenov the full amount of compensation he sought for non-pecuniary damages -- the approximate equivalent in Bulgarian Leva of 300 EUR. The ruling, which is based on Bulgaria's Protection Against Discrimination Act, is the first to find discrimination by inference, in accordance with the special rule of the shifting of the burden of proof in discrimination cases.

In December 2003, the claimant, 22 year old Mr Metody Assenov, sought to apply for a job as a food production worker with the respondent, Lubimka Ltd. In response to a job advertisement in a newspaper, he placed a telephone call to Lubimka Ltd. to inquire about the terms and conditions for applying. An employee told him that there was no requirement other than to be a male below the age of 30. She also told him, explicitly, that no Roma need apply as no Roma would be hired. In February 2004, the job advertisement reappeared and Mr Assenov called again, making no mention of his ethnicity. He was invited for an interview, at which the employees of Lubimka Ltd. treated him less favourably than other job applicants present by trying to ignore him and by discouraging him from expecting to be hired. Several weeks later, upon inquiry, he was told that he had not been hired. He was not offered any explanation of the reason for the refusal.

In court, representatives of Lubimka Ltd. argued that their refusal to hire Mr. Assenov was not race-based, but for a legitimate reason; namely, the claimant's lack of proper qualifications. The court did not consider this sufficiently established as there was no evidence that Mr Assenov had lesser qualifications than the applicants who had been hired. The court found that there was enough circumstantial evidence to point to a causal link between Mr Assenov's ethnicity and Lubimka Ltd.'s refusal to hire him. The court's reasoning includes express language on the principle of the shifting of the burden of proof in discrimination cases, in line with established case law in the European Union.

(ERRC)

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ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

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The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

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Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

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