Extent of Protection
Any difference, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, religion, social status, beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, age, handicap, non-contagious chronic disease, HIV positive status, belonging to a disadvantaged group or any other criterion, aiming to, or resulting in, a restriction or prevention of the equal recognition, use or exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social and cultural field, or in any other areas of public life, including discrimination, being direct or indirect, are specifically prohibited. Notably, special attention should be paid to matters involving discrimination based on union affiliation.
Victimization is defined as any adverse treatment triggered by a complaint in general or by a case lodged with the courts regarding infringement of the principle of equal treatment and non-discrimination. In Romania, protection against victimization is not limited to the complainant – rather it also extends to the witnesses.
Protections against Harassment
Harassment is broadly defined as any behavior which leads to establishing an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment. Whereas, moral harassment refers to any improper behavior that takes place over a period of time, is repetitive or systematic, and involves physical behavioral, oral or written language, gestures or other intentional acts that could affect personality, dignity, psychological or physical integrity of an individual. Sexual harassment, which is tied to a working relationship, is a criminal offence. For years this was the only type of harassment recognised by Romanian law. However, only a few cases of sexual harassment have been registered in Romanian courts, even when criminally prosecuted.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
The concept of reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities is, remarkably, absent from Romania’s otherwise extensive anti-discrimination laws and despite the fact that this matter is now defined, specifically, in the special legislation on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, without any provision for sanctions the law once again fails to achieve its purpose.
In case of suspicion of discrimination, the employee has the option of filing a complaint of either an administrative nature or of a civil nature. Remedies for sexual harassment claims may be pursued with the police or the public prosecutor’s office.