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EU legal priority

According to a human rights lawyer European Union laws about discrimination on grounds of religion or belief and on sexual orientation trump national laws:

If the employer is acting in some sense in a public capacity as an emanation of the State (for example in the provision of public education service) then the [national] legislation can simply be ignored and by-passed (“disapplied”) if and insofar as its application according to normal canons of construction would conflicts with the ends which the European Union legislation seeks to achieve (in EU law terms this is the principle of “direct effect”)

But even if the employer is acting in a purely private capacity, the wording of any [national] implementing legislation has always to be re-read and re-interpreted in the light of the purposes of the European Union legislation  (in EU law terms this is the principle of “indirect effect”)


(February 2010)


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