In Italy there are several different sources of law which prevent discrimination in the workplace.
Article 3 of the Italian Constitution provides that "all citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinions, personal and social conditions".
Article 37 guarantees equal working conditions for men and women and states that sex cannot be a reason for discrimination, with an additional requirement that working conditions which allow women to perform their role in the family must be preferred and special protection must be guaranteed to women and children.
A general principle of equal treatment in employment is also established in the Workers’ statute which invalidates any agreement by or action of the employer that constitutes discrimination for reasons of sex, race, language, religion or political opinion (implementing the European Directive).
In addition, under Italian law dismissal for discriminatory reasons such as political and union views, religion or participation in union activities is void regardless of any justification.
In both these examples of invalidity the employer is obliged to reinstate the dismissed employee and to pay the employee the whole salary due from the date of dismissal until the actual reinstatement (instead of reinstatement, the employee can decide to opt for an indemnity equal to 15 months' salary).
A 2015 law governing different types of employment contracts sets out the principle of non-discrimination between permanent and fixed-term employees. Fixed term employees should be guaranteed the same salary and contract terms as permanent employees who are classified at the same level under the criteria in the collective bargaining agreement.
Other forms of unlawful discrimination in Italy are: age discrimination; discrimination due to the pregnancy or maternity leave; race, ethnical, national or religious discrimination; AIDS discrimination and handicap discrimination.
In order to give added effect to anti-discrimination provisions, there is also a special fast track procedure for claims for:
- discrimination for trade union reasons (such as dismissal, transfer, demotion of a worker taking part in a strike or becoming a member of a union organization);
- race, ethnical, national or religious discrimination; and
- sex discrimination at work.
For all the other types of discrimination the employee can use the general fast track procedure in the Civil procedure Code.