This summary of age discrimination law in Romania has been prepared by Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen, the Ius Laboris affiliate for Romania: www.nndkp.ro
Rules on age discrimination are provided within the Constitution of Romania of 1991 (republished in the Official Gazette no. 767/2003), the Romanian Labour Code (Law no. 53/2003, republished in the Official Gazette no. 345/2011, as subsequently amended and supplemented) and the Government Ordinance no. 137/ 31.08.2000 on preventing and sanctioning all kinds of discrimination (republished in the Official Gazette no. 166/2014).
The Constitution of Romania provides the principle that all the Romanian citizens are equal in regards to their rights and obligations.
The Labour Code regulates the principle of equality of treatment in respect of all employers and employees. It includes both direct and indirect discrimination.
The Government Ordinance no. 137/2000 (“GO”) regulates in detail; discrimination, harassment and victimisation. It provides obligations on both individual persons and legal persons in relation to all economic and social areas. It sets down sanctions which are applicable in cases of breach of such legal provisions.
According to the GO, any different treatment grounded on any of the criteria provided therein (including age) does not represent discrimination in case it is justified, has a legitimate purpose and the methods used to reach such purpose are appropriate and necessary.
The GO implements the Directive no. 2000/43/CE implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, as well as the Directive no. 2000/78/CE establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation. Furthermore, when drafting the Labour Code, all EU legislation applicable in the area of non-discrimination and equality of treatment was taken into account.
The GO no. 137/2000 is the legislation applicable in the area of discrimination and it applies not only with respect to the employment relationships, but also in other areas such as political, economical, social and cultural rights.
The GO covers all individual persons independently of their status (e.g. employees, self-employed, agency workers) and independently of their age. The GO does not provide for any exclusion, but specific exclusions may be provided within specific legislation applicable to certain categories of individual persons.
What enforcement/remedies exist?
Breach of the legal provisions on equal treatment between persons is an administrative offence. The law does not provide for any specific criminal sanctions.
The persons who commit the acts of discrimination may be sanctioned by a warning or a fine, the amount of which depends on whether the discrimination concerns an individual or a group/community.
Enforcement of the implementation and compliance with the non-discrimination principle is carried out by the National Council for Fighting against Discrimination – NCFD. This is an independent public administrative body acting under the Parliament’s control. The Council has the authority to investigate, acknowledge and apply sanctions in cases of discrimination.
A person who considers himself/herself as being discriminated is also entitled to claim in front of a Court of law and seek to be compensated for all damages incurred as a result of the discrimination suffered. Such person must prove the damages claimed (both material and moral damages). The amount of the material damages incurred must be proved and the amount of the moral damages claimed shall be established by the Court of law. The law limits provides for no limitations in respect of the amount of the material and moral damages.
Decisions taken by the NCFD may be challenged in front of the contentious administrative courts and claims for civil damages may be submitted to the civil courts.
How common are claims?
Claims related to age discrimination are not common in Romania, although that is not to say that discrimination is not often found in practice.
According to report of NCFD for 2013, from a total number of 858 petitions registered by NFCD only 18 of them were related to the age discrimination. In only 3 cases the NCFD considered that there is a discrimination case.
The most common criteria of discriminations invoked in front of the NCFD during 2013 related to social origin (414 cases), ethnical belonging (66 cases) and nationality (61 cases).
What claims are most common and what are trickiest issues for employers?
As mentioned, claims related to age discrimination are not common in Romania. However, the most common claims are related to recruitment being submitted by those candidates who have been rejected on grounds of age. Also, there are several claims related to dismissal, the former employees arguing that they were dismissed on grounds of age.
Are there any specific exceptions in your laws?
In Romania there are exceptions related to the duration of annual leave, duration of working time, performance of overtime and night work which represents more favourable treatment for young employees who are under 18 years of age. The collective labour agreements may also provide for length-of-service-related benefits (duration of annual leave, redundancy payments etc.). Lengths of service-related benefits are not necessarily connected with the age but may be a consequence.
According to the Romanian applicable legislation (Law no. 263/2010) currently (2015) the standard retirement age is 60 years for women and 65 years for men and shall reach to 63 years for women in 2030.
The Romanian Labour Code expressly provides that an employee's employment contract is terminated automatically by operation of the law on the date that he or she reaches the standard retirement age and has the minimum contribution record for receipt of a state retirement pension. The contract also terminates automatically from the date that the relevant authorities award an employee an early-retirement pension of any type or a disability pension.
No interesting cases on age discrimination are publicly available.