European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

Turkey: Court awards €10,000 to woman after gender discrimination human rights complaint

Judges say a woman, sacked from her job in a Turkish state electricity company, did suffer a breach of her human rights.

In today’s chamber judgment in the case of Emel Boyraz v. Turkey (application no. 61960/08), the European Court of Human Rights held, 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;

unanimously, that there had been a violation of article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time) of the convention.

The case concerned a dismissal from public sector employment – a state-run electricity company – on grounds of gender. Ms Boyraz, the applicant, 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.

In the Court’s opinion, the mere fact that security officers had to work on night shifts and in rural areas and had 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’ 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.

Just satisfaction (Article 41)

The court held that Turkey was to pay Ms Boyraz 10,000 euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

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