Euro court fines Turkey 10,000 euros for gender discrimination

The European Court of Human Rights held Dec. 2 that Turkey was to pay Emel Boyraz 10,000 euros because of her dismissal from public sector employment, a state-run electricity company, on the grounds of gender, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Boyraz had worked as a security officer for almost three years before being dismissed in March 2004 because she was not a man and had not completed military service. The court decided by six votes to one that there had been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8 (right for respect to private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It also unanimously decided that there had been a violation of the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time.

The court concluded that Turkey should pay 10,000 euros to Poyraz in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

In the court’s opinion, the mere fact that security officers had to work night shifts and in rural areas, in addition having to use firearms and physical force under certain conditions, had not in itself justified any difference in treatment between men and women. Moreover, the reason for Boyraz’s dismissal had not been her inability to assume such risks or responsibilities, there having been nothing to indicate that she had failed to fulfil her duties, but the decisions of Turkish administrative courts.

The court also considered that the administrative courts had not substantiated the grounds for the requirement that only male staff could be employed as security officers in the branch of the state-run electricity company.

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