Turkey: Workplace sexism human rights judgement looms

A woman, who claims workplace sexism stopped her from becoming a security officer, will find out tomorrow if she has won the backing of Strasbourg judges.

The European Court of Human Rights’ decision in the case Hülya Ebru Demirel v. Turkey (no. 30733/08) is expected on Tuesday 19 June.

The applicant, Hülya Ebru Demirel, is a Turkish national who was born in 1976 and lives in Kilis (Turkey).

The case concerns her allegation of sexual discrimination after she was denied a job as a security officer at a state-run regional electricity distribution company.

In 1999 the applicant passed a civil service exam and was appointed as a security officer at the Kilis branch of the Turkish Electricity Distribution company.

However, the company refused to appoint her as she was not a man who had completed military service.

The applicant initially won a discrimination court case against the company in 2001 but that decision was overturned on appeal by the Supreme Administrative Court in December 2002.

The applicant’s further appeals were all unsuccessful, with the final decision being handed down in June 2009 by the Twelfth Division of the Supreme Administrative Court. That court did not follow an earlier ruling by one of the highest judicial formations of the Supreme Administrative Court in another case, which had found that a woman had been discriminated against in circumstances similar to those of the applicant.

Relying on Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken in conjunction with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) the applicant complains that the decisions of the administrative authorities and the courts constituted sex discrimination.

She also complains under Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing) that the domestic courts delivered contradictory decisions in identical cases and that Twelfth Division of the Supreme Administrative Court failed to examine her submissions.


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