EU employment law

EU laws on workplace equality


There are various European Union (EU) directives that make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against workers on the grounds of gender, race, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation.

This means that wherever you employ someone in the EU, you must:

  1. provide equal access to employment
  2. treat your workers fairly and equally eg when offering training opportunities or access to benefits
  3. make sure that disabled people can work comfortably

Read summaries of EU anti-discrimination law.

For information on EU sex discrimination law, see EU law on gender equality in the workplace.

The law in individual member states

Each member state has implemented the directives into its own legislation, so there may be local variations.

Therefore, you should check the specific situation in your destination country.

You can get advice on the specific laws and exemptions in any EU country using the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). This is a network of business advice partner organisations across the EU. You can Find your nearest EEN partner organisation.

Important: The UK has left the EU and there is now a transition period until the end of 2020. This information is still current but could change. Any changes will be documented here. For more information, see Brexit support for employers.