This summary of age discrimination law in Ukraine has been prepared by Vasil Kisil & Partners, the Ius Laboris member for Ukraine: www.vkp.ua

Overview

The Constitution of Ukraine provides for a general prohibition of discrimination in terms of race, colour, political, religious, and other persuasions, sex, ethnic or social origin, property status, place of residence, language or other distinctions (Article 24 of the Constitution of Ukraine). General anti-discrimination framework is provided in the Law on Principles of Prevention and Combating Discrimination, where discrimination based on age is explicitly prohibited. These laws constitute general anti-discrimination regime in Ukraine.

As to the employment anti-discrimination regulation, the following laws, discussed below in detail, apply, in particular (1) the Labour Code of Ukraine and (2) Law on Employment and (3) Law on Basic Principle of Social Protection of Veterans of Labour and Other Elder Citizens in Ukraine.

Article 2-1 of the Labour Code of Ukraine provides for the principle of labour rights equality of citizens of Ukraine. Under article 22 of the Labour Code of Ukraine when amending and terminating labour agreements employers are prohibited to discriminate employees on a wide range of grounds, but age is not listed there. Instead, it's stated that age requirements may be provided by the law (e.g. public servants age cap).

The recent Law on Employment provided a new focus on equal treatment in employment and restrictions on job advertisements, and established an administrative liability for breaches of such requirements. Under the law, all forms of discrimination are prohibited in employment, including based on age. The law also prohibits age requirements in job opening advertisements.

Under the Law on Basic Principle of Social Protection of Veterans of Labour and Other Elder Citizens in Ukraine, elder citizens enjoy equal social-economic and personal rights, discrimination of them is prohibited in all spheres, including in employment. Elder citizens are defined as citizens that reached retirement age or have less than one and a half years to reach it.

There is also a mandatory employment quota for the employment of ‘subsidised categories of employees’. Under the Law on Employment, subsidised categories of employees include: pre-retirement employees (between 50 and 60 years old), young specialists (who are employed for the first time during the first six months after graduation) and certain other categories. For companies with 20 or more employees in the previous calendar year, the workplace quota for the employment of subsidised categories of employees is 5 per cent of the workforce.

Who's covered?

Employment anti-discrimination provisions cover employees and public servants only. In military service and in commercial relationships, i.e. with independent contractors, general anti-discrimination requirements apply. Agency workers are considered to be employees, are entitled to the same protections enjoyed by non-agency workers and are thus covered as well.

What enforcement/remedies exist?

Victims of discrimination can claim damages and compensation of moral harm suffered as a result of discrimination in civil proceedings. According to anti-discrimination laws, the burden of proof in civil discrimination suits lies on the defendant and, for a suit to proceed, a person who claims to have experienced discrimination is required only to make the claim and submit the facts that support this claim.

Under article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, it is a criminal offence to carry out wilful actions inciting national, racial or religious enmity and hatred, humiliation of national honour and dignity and insulting citizens’ feelings with respect to their religious convictions, as well as the direct or indirect restriction of rights, or the granting of direct or indirect privileges to citizens based on a series of grounds including race, colour, religious convictions, ethnic origin, language and other grounds. Although age discrimination is not specifically mentioned in this article, it is covered under the ‘other’ grounds.

No special administrative liability exists for discriminatory practices.

How common are claims?

Age discrimination claims are very uncommon, but we expect them to increase as Ukraine is expected to enhance its anti-discrimination protections to meet the harmonisation commitments undertaken in the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement.

What claims are most common and what are trickiest issues for employers?

Not applicable. See above.

Are there any specific exceptions in your laws?

Discrimination can be justified where age requirements are specifically allowed by law. Such requirements exist for public servants and military officers.

Retirement ages

Retirement age in Ukraine is sixty years both for men and women. Mandatory retirement in private companies is not allowed under Ukrainian law. 

Interesting cases

There are no interesting cases.