Department of Administration: In a consultation, calls the Ministry of Health for the restoration of age-old discrimination due to gender

The Ministry must proceed" with corrective measures to the maximum extent possible of the consequences that have occurred over time at the expense of the complainants, says in a report by Mrs. Lottidis

bbbb ep tropos1

The Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights, Maria Stylianou-Lottidis, invites the Minister of Defense to a consultation in her latest relevant Report, for the purpose of determining the measures to restore "the long-term adverse discrimination due to gender" suffered by the Volunteer NCOs.

 

In the Report of the Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights as an Equality and Anti-Discrimination Agency regarding gender discrimination against female NCOs in the field of work, Ms. Lottidi states that she is submitting this Report to the Director General of the Ministry of Defense, informing him of the its intention to make a recommendation on the basis of what is stated both in this Report and in its two previous Reports, "since I believe that a holistic treatment of the issue is needed, which will cover all affected women, for whom corresponding issues are not pending before of any court".

 

"Therefore, I am inviting the Competent Minister to a consultation, which will take place in my Office on October 12, 2022 at 12:00, for the purpose of determining the measures to remedy the long-term gender discrimination suffered by Volunteer NCOs", says Mrs. Lottidi.

 

The Report concerns a complaint submitted to the Commissioner by a lawyer on behalf of 51 female permanent NCOs, who were Volunteer NCOs of the 8th series, for unequal treatment and gender discrimination in their work and professional advancement.

 

In particular, it is stated, the complainants were hired under a contract as volunteer NCOs of the National Guard, at the rank of Sergeant (salary scale A1) in 2003 and were made permanent (salary scale A4) in 2017, "that is, 14 years after their recruitment, while the men volunteer NCOs who were hired in the same time period as the complainants were made permanent much earlier and, by extension, had a different career progression than them."

 

Complaints similar to this one had been examined by the Office of the Commissioner, for Volunteer Petty Officers 3rd and 4th series, and 5th, 6th and 7th series, it is reported, and two Reports were submitted in March and December 2021, respectively.

 

It is stated that what has been extensively analyzed in the previous relevant Reports of the Commissioner's Office, in relation to the Volunteer Officers of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Series, "also applies to the Volunteer Non-Commissioned Officers of the 8th series: That, that is, and these complainants were victims of prohibited discrimination based on gender, both in access to work and in professional advancement. There has not been, until now, any correction of the adverse consequences that came to their detriment over time".

 

It is also reported that the Ministry involved proceeded to seek an opinion from the Attorney General of the Republic, specifically asking for his positions on the possibility and procedure of an out-of-court settlement, but there was no further information from the Commissioner's Office in relation to the opinion in question.

 

In today's session of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, however, the Report notes, "we were informed that the Legal Service has issued a relevant opinion, on the basis of which not only is the out-of-court settlement of the matter not eligible, but they are also disputed on of substance the conclusions and recommendations contained in our previous two relevant Reports".

 

The Commissioner states that she therefore considers it necessary to underline that the Anti-Racial and Certain Other Discrimination (Commissioner) Act of 2004 (42(I)/2004), under which she examined the specific complaints and submitted the previous Reports, acting as Equality and Anti-discrimination Agency, harmonizes Cypriot legislation with mandatory European Union Directives and provides the respective Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights with powers to issue binding decisions, which cover both the public and private sectors.

 

Referring also to relevant jurisprudence in relation to the decisions of the respective Commissioner for Administration and Protection of Human Rights, when acting as an Equality and Anti-discrimination Agency, the Commissioner notes that the Ministry of Defense cannot rely on an opinion of the Attorney General to challenge the decisions which have already been issued with the previous Reports.

 

"The only thing the Ministry can do is to receive an opinion and guidance in relation to possible measures aimed at implementing my suggestion to remove the adverse consequences that have occurred at the expense of female Volunteer NCOs, due to the already established prohibited discrimination due to gender at work and professional development", the Report states, among other things.

 

The Ministry, it is added, "must proceed" with corrective measures to the maximum extent possible of the consequences that have occurred over time at the expense of the complainants. "It could, in particular, consider upgrading their existing pay scales or paying them a lump sum or in some other similar way," the Report says.

 

It is pointed out in the Report that for those volunteers who have an appeal pending with the exact same object and who either appealed or not to the Commissioner's Office by submitting a relevant complaint, the issued reports cannot be applied simultaneously to them as well, since both the investigation of the complaints as well as the recommendation concerns only the affected complainants who did not appeal to the Court for the exact same issue, unless the Competent Ministry decides otherwise.

 

The Report, the Commissioner states, is being shared with the Attorney General and the members of the Committee on Human Rights and Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, for their information.

KYPE