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  • Legal system, currency, language

    Constitutional and civil law with certain application of case law. Pesos (ARS). Spanish.

     

  • Corporate presence requirements & payroll set-up

    A foreign entity cannot hire employees in Argentina without a local corporate presence.

    Employers must pay social security contributions (23% or 27% on top of salaries, depending on the company's activity and revenues). Employees must contribute 17% of their salaries to the social security system (to be withheld by the employer and subject to certain taxable limits). Income tax is also withheld by the employer when paying employees' salaries (maximum rate 35%, subject to a progressive scale).

    Collective bargaining agreements for certain activities provide payments to be made by the employer and/or the unionized employees to the relevant unions.

  • Pre-hire checks

    Required

    • Pre-hire medical checks are required pursuant to resolutions issued by the Occupational Hazard Superintendence. If an employee does not complete a pre-hire medical check, the employee will be deemed to have begun work in optimal health; therefore, any injuries or diseases which subsequently arise will be deemed to have happened during the employment relationship.
    • Criminal record checks are required for foreign employees to obtain a work visa.

    Permissible

    Where criminal checks are not required for work visa purposes, they are only permissible (and often done in practice) for specific roles (eg, high-level managerial positions). Reference and educational checks are common and permissible, provided applicant consent is previously obtained.

  • Immigration

    Foreigners from non-Mercosur countries must obtain a temporary residence permit that permits them to enter and work in Argentina. Temporary residency is granted for a maximum period of up to 1 year, extendable for periods of equal or shorter terms. After 3 consecutive years as a temporary resident, foreign employees are entitled to apply for permanent residence.

    Citizens of Mercosur countries can apply for temporary Mercosur residence in Argentina without the need to present a work contract to the authorities. Temporary Mercosur residence is granted for 2 years and enables the individual to work and to apply for permanent residence on expiry of the temporary residence.

  • Hiring options

    Employee

    Full-time, part-time, fixed-term, indefinite-term employees or trainees.

    The following factors tend to indicate a labor relationship: availability to work for his/her employer; an employer who directs and subordinates the individual; an employer who instructs the services and duties required and creates the individual's schedule. Courts will also look at the extent to which the worker depends economically on the employer.

    Independent contractor

    Contractors should only be engaged where there is no labor relationship, that is, no direction/subordination or economic dependence.

    Misclassification, that is failure to register an individual as an employee, or submission of an incomplete or defective registration, carries the risk of severe sanctions and fines from the authorities (including amounts owed to social security for unpaid contributions). In addition, steep fines are levied upon statutory severance, including the doubling of the amount of severance owed to a (misclassified) employee.

    Agency worker

    Employers can engage workers through agencies. Agencies must be authorized by the authorities to function as an agency.

    The employer will be jointly and severally liable with the agency for all labor obligations arising from the worker's employment.

  • Employment contracts & policies

    Employment contracts

    There is no general, legal requirement to execute employment contracts in a specific form – meaning that they can be in writing, made orally, etc. unless a specific law or collective convention applies and indicates otherwise. Notwithstanding, employers are advised to enter into a written employment contract.

    Probationary periods

    The maximum permitted duration of a probationary period is 3 months. After the end of the 3 month period, the employee will turn into an indefinite term employee.

    Policies

    The law does not require employers to have specific policies in place. Notwithstanding, there are some policies that are strongly recommended to prevent potential conflict, such as bonus policies.

    Third-party approval

    Third-party approval is not required for employment contracts or any policies.

  • Language requirements

    No statutory language requirements; however, in practice, employment contracts are drafted in Spanish.

  • Minimum employment rights

    Employees entitled to minimum employment rights

    The Employment Contract Law No. 20,744 (LCL) governs the minimum employment rights in Argentina.

    Pursuant to Article 3º of the LCL, the law governs everything related to the validity, rights and obligations of the parties, provided the employment contract is performed in Argentina, even if the contract was entered into abroad.

    The LCL applies to "workers" which covers not only employees working under an employment contract, but also other individuals who personally perform "work" or provide services for the employer.

    For this purpose, "work" should be understood as any legitimate activity that is provided in favor of someone who has the power to direct that work, through the payment of remuneration for those activities and/or services rendered.

    The main factors that will tend to indicate that an individual is an employee rather than a worker or self-employed worker, are:

    • The employee must be available to work for his/her employer
    • The employer will direct and subordinate the employee, appoint the services and duties required and order the employee to comply with a schedule

    Courts will also weigh the extent to which the worker depends economically on the income obtained from the alleged employer.

    Working hours

    The general maximum number of hours is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week for all employed workers in public or private enterprises. Each extra hour worked above these limits is deemed to be overtime.

    Notwithstanding the foregoing, Article No. 3 of Law No. 11,544, in its subsections a), b) and c) regulates exceptions to the abovementioned maximum limitation on working hours. The limitations do not apply to employees performing duties under the form of a "job team," that is, working in a special coordinating rotation system, nor to employees performing duties in high-level positions (main managers, directors etc.).

    Overtime

    Employees in Argentina are allowed to perform overtime. Overtime will be only compulsory in cases of danger or accidents or imminent force majeure, or by exceptional demands of the national economy or the company (Article No. 203 of the LCL).

    Overtime must be paid with a surcharge of 50%, calculated using the employee's usual salary if the overtime hours were worked during business days, and 100% on Saturday after 1pm, Sunday or holidays. In no event may employees work overtime of more than, 3 hours per day, 30 hours per month or 200 hours per calendar year.

    Wages

    The national minimum wage (NMW) is updated regularly by the National Council of Employment dependent of the Ministry of Production and Labor. The NMW rate as of December 2018 is AR$11,300.

    Most CBAs also provide for a specific minimum wage applicable to employees subject to the CBA.

    Vacation

    Employees with less than 5 years seniority are entitled to 14 calendar days after 6 months of work. This increases to 21 calendar days for employees with between 5 to 10 years of seniority; 28 days for employees with between 10 to 20 years of seniority, and 35 days for employees with more than 20 years of seniority. For employees with less than 6 months of service, employers must grant 1 day of vacation per worked month. Companies should grant vacation to their employees between October 1 to April 30 of the following year.

    Sick leave & pay

    Sick/accident leave of up to 3 months per year must be provided to employees with less than 5 years of seniority, while 6 months must be granted to employees with seniority of 5 years or longer. For employees with "family dependents" (generally understood to be the immediate family that economically depends on the employee’s wage and labor benefits), these periods are doubled, to 6 and 12 months, respectively.

    Maternity/parental leave & pay

    Pregnant employees may take leave of 45 days prior to giving birth and up to 45 days after giving birth. However, the employee may choose to reduce the leave prior to giving birth, but it may not be less than 30 days, and add those days to the maternity leave period after the birth of the child. In the event of premature birth, the period of the leave that has not been enjoyed before the birth will be added to the leave period after the childbirth. Further, the employee is entitled to earn her gross remuneration (without any withholding contributions made to the social security system), during maternity leave. The ANSES (as defined below) pays the remuneration of employees during maternity leave.

    Fathers are entitled to paid leave of 2 consecutive days for the birth of his child. There is no general regulation providing other parental leave after the birth of a child. 

  • Discrimination

    The law prohibits discriminatory acts or omissions based on race, religion, nationality, ideology, political or trade union opinion, sex, economic position, social condition or physical characteristics.

    In addition, Argentina has ratified international antidiscrimination conventions, such as the Convention of Belem do Pará and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

  • Benefits & pensions

    The Social Security National Administration (Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social, hereinafter ANSES) is the authority in charge of the administration of the social security system in Argentina, called Sistema Integrado de Jubilaciones y Pensiones (SIJP). Employers and employees are required to make contributions to the SIJP which provides for old age pension and disability benefits.

    To qualify for a statefunded pension distribution, male employees must be 65 years old, while female employees must be 60 years old. In both cases, in order to qualify for pension the employee must have contributed to the SIJP for a minimum of 30 years.

    Employers do not have a legal obligation to provide a private pension scheme for employees, as the employees are entitled to state pensions.

  • Data privacy

    The Data Privacy Law No. 24,766 sets limits to the type of personal data that may be collected by prohibiting the collection of sensitive personal data, such as data that is related to political or religious opinions, and regulates the collection, use, processing and transfer of personal data.

    Employers are allowed to monitor employee's work devices, provided the employee is duly notified in advance, and personal information is safeguarded and not disclosed.

  • Rules in transactions/business transfers

    Where there is an asset transfer that qualifies as a business transfer, all obligations arising from the employment contracts that the transferor has executed with its employees will be taken on by the transferee after the transfer. Employment contracts will continue with the transferee and the employees will retain their seniority with the transferor and the rights arising from it. Therefore, on the execution of the transfer, all employees are automatically transferred to the transferee, after their written consent has been obtained.

    Although in practice both internal consultations and collective consultation with trade unions are held before a business transfer takes place, the transferor and the transferee are not required by law to inform or consult employees on a business transfer. However, in order to perform the transfer of staff, the employee’s written consent must be given prior to the transfer. In the absence of this consent, the employee may terminate the employment, with the right to compensation.

    The transferor and the transferee will be jointly and severally liable for any dismissals that arise due to the transfer.

  • Employee representation

    Argentina is a highly unionized country with approximately 3,100 active trade unions with considerable political power. There are unions in nearly all sectors or industries.

    A trade union must be recognized by the Ministry of Production and Labor. Only recognized and authorized unions can enter into a CBA. Employers cannot recognize an unauthorized union voluntarily, not even for collective bargaining purposes.

    The National Constitution sets out collective labor rights in its Article No. 14 (bis), guaranteeing unions the right to collectively bargain and the right to strike.

    CBAs are very common in Argentina. There are different types of CBAs depending on the territory in which they are going to be enforceable. Some CBAs only govern employees within one specific company, whereas other CBAs govern employees performing certain activities in a geographical region or industry.

  • Termination

    Grounds

    Cause is not required for termination of employment; however, it is required to avoid payment of statutory severance. There is no exhaustive and/or exemplary list of behaviors that constitute cause for dismissal; therefore, whether a dismissal is with or without cause will depend on judicial judgment on a case by case basis. 

    Who is subject to termination laws?

    All employees.

    Prohibited or restricted terminations

    Public employees and union delegates cannot be dismissed without cause and without complying with the statutory procedure for these terminations. All other employees can be dismissed with payment of statutory severance, which will differ based on the case (maternity, illness, etc.)

    Pregnant employees are protected from dismissal. If a pregnant employee is dismissed within the period of 7-1/2 months before or after the date of childbirth, the pregnancy will be considered to be the cause of the dismissal, entitling the employee compensation for the discrimination equivalent to their annual salary, in addition to the applicable severance payment.

    Further, if a dismissal occurs 3 months before the marriage of an employee, or 6 months after it, the dismissed employee will be entitled to a special compensation.

    In order to dismiss employees on sick leave, employers must pay a special severance (full severance payment applicable for dismissal without cause, plus the salary which would be payable for the entire period the illness would be expected to last, according to medical opinion).

    Third-party approval for termination/termination documents

    Under Decree No. 1043/18 (effective as of November 14, 2018), employers wishing to dismiss indefinite term employees without cause must notify the Ministry of Production and Labor at least 10 business days before the decision goes into effect. This Decree is effective through March 31, 2019.

    As this decree was issued recently, there is no administrative or judicial case law interpreting the Decree.

    Mass layoff rules

    Prior to a mass dismissal, an employer must provide notice to the respective trade union that regulates the employer's industry. Collective consultation may be required depending on employee headcount.

    Prior to executing or communicating dismissals or suspensions due to force majeure, economic or technological causes that affects more than:

    • 15% of the employees where total headcount is less than 400
    • 10% of the employees where total headcount is between 400 and 1,000 and
    • 5% of the employees where total headcount is greater than 1,000

    Employers must comply with the Preventive Procedure of Companies Crisis (PPC) before the Ministry of Production and Labor. During this procedure, the company will engage in negotiation with the respective union acting on behalf of their members. The aim of this procedure is to avoid business shutdowns or bankruptcy. After the company files the request at the Ministry of Production and Labor, the Ministry will forward the claim within 2 business days of the filing to the other party for its response. After a response is made, a settlement hearing will be scheduled within the next 5 business days. If a settlement is not reached, the Ministry will open a "negotiating period" that must not extend beyond 10 business days. If the parties still do not reach to an agreement within that period, the PPC process will conclude. Notwithstanding this, in practice, this procedure normally takes longer than the law sets out.

    Notice

    In order to proceed with termination, employers must give notice to employees before the dismissal. 

    The term of this notice will depend on the seniority of employees:

    • During their probationary period, notice must be given to employees 15 days before termination
    • In order to dismiss employees who have completed the probationary period but who have less than 5 years of seniority, notice must be given 1 month prior to the dismissal and
    • Employees with more than 5 years' seniority must receive 2 months' notice before their dismissal

    Statutory right to pay in lieu of notice or garden leave

    Employers are permitted to pay in lieu of notice. Current legislation does not regulate nor prohibit garden leave.

    Severance

    An employee who is dismissed without reasonable cause is entitled to statutory severance of 1 month's salary for each year of service, or period longer than 3 months. This amount is calculated using the employee's highest monthly, regular compensation received in the last 12 months of work. This baseline cannot be more than 3 times the "monthly payment," which is the average of all compensation set out in the applicable CBA at the time of the dismissal (this average is periodically published). The Ministry of Production and Labor governs the updating of this average for every authorized trade union.  

    If the employee is not subject to a CBA (typically, senior employees), the limits applicable to the activity in which he/she performs duties will apply. In no case will the amount of the compensation payable be less than 1 month of real salary.

    Currently, in the Vizotti case, the Supreme Court of Justice has raised the basis for calculating compensation subject to a limit, establishing that it will be 67% of the employee's monthly and usual compensation, the amount to be multiplied by the years of service of the employee, based on constitutional reasons and in cases where the application of the legal limit imposes a reduction to the severance payment of more than 33%.

    This severance payment may be reduced or increased in other types of termination (eg, force majeure and lack or reduction of work; death of the employee; employer's bankruptcy; employee's retirement; employee's illness; employee's pregnancy; etc.)

  • Post-termination restraints

    Non-compete, customer non-solicitation and employee non-solicitation clauses are often used, especially when the employer and employee negotiate the terms and conditions of the termination of the employment.

    Restrictive covenants are capable of being enforced post-employment, provided the employee receives compensation for the restrictions. Therefore, consideration is required for valid restrictive covenants. The amount must be fair and in accordance with the salary of the employee, his/her position in the company, the agreements that the company intends to impose and the extent (period and territory) of the restrictive covenant.

    The law does not specifically regulate restrictive covenants. However, most restrictive periods range between 2 years to 5 years. However, under certain circumstances the court has enforced a 10 year post-termination restraint period, based on the business and the amount of consideration paid to the employee.

    Where an employee is in breach of an agreement, the employer can file a claim against the employee in court requesting compensation for damages. The complaint may include injunctive relief to stop the violation immediately. Alternatively, courts may declare the covenant null and void if it has been drafted too widely.

  • Waivers

    Pursuant to the LCL, any executed agreement that suppresses or reduces rights granted by the LCL, labor laws related to specific industries, collective agreements or individual employment contracts, either at the time of their agreement or execution, or the exercise of the rights arising from its termination, shall be null and void.

  • Remedies

    Discrimination

    Compensation is available as a remedy for discrimination or harassment. In case the event of a complaint based on harassment, the employee can file a claim requesting the payment of the statutory severance payment applicable to dismissals without cause and an additional amount for the pain and/or emotional distress caused by the harassment.

    Employers are liable for the acts of their employees. Therefore, the employer and the harasser will be declared jointly and severally liable for the payment of any compensation granted to the victim.

    Unfair dismissal

    Employees may challenge a dismissal without cause within 2 years of the dismissal and seek payment of statutory severance, plus interest and court fees. The complaint must be filed before the labor courts.

    Failure to inform & consult

    Not applicable for terminations as there are no consultation obligations.

  • Criminal sanctions

    Breaches of labor law do not entail a criminal breach or sanction unless such a breach or offense is specifically regulated by the National Criminal Code as a crime. In that case, criminal sanctions will be applied for the breach of criminal law and not for the breach of labor law.

  • Key contacts
    Osvaldo Jofre
    Osvaldo Jofre
    Cordova Francos [email protected]

Discrimination

Argentina

The law prohibits discriminatory acts or omissions based on race, religion, nationality, ideology, political or trade union opinion, sex, economic position, social condition or physical characteristics.

In addition, Argentina has ratified international antidiscrimination conventions, such as the Convention of Belem do Pará and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Australia

The characteristics protected under equal opportunity and anti-discrimination legislation in the various states and territories of Australia, as well as in federal legislation, vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The protected characteristics common to all jurisdictions are: race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital or relationship status, family or carer's responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin, gender identity, intersex status or trade union membership.

Austria

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Bahrain

The Labor Law prohibits discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, ethnic origin, language, religion or belief. Further, dismissals on the basis of sex, color, religion, belief, social status, family responsibilities, a female worker's pregnancy, childbirth or nursing her infant shall be deemed to be automatically unfair.

Belgium

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender, marital status, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, political conviction, physical or genetic characteristics, language, current or future health, affiliation to trade union.

Brazil

Characteristics protected by statute from unlawful discrimination: gender, origin, race, color, marital status, family situation, age, pregnancy, religion, disability. Case law has also protected homosexuals, transgender individuals and individuals with severe illnesses from discriminatory termination. 

Canada

All Canadian jurisdictions have legislation which prohibits harassment and discrimination based on a number of grounds. Protected grounds vary by jurisdiction but generally include: race, religion, age, disability, sex, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, national/ethnic origin, record of (criminal) offences, marital status and family status. Employees who suffer harassment or discrimination may have a civil cause of action and/or access to a specialized tribunal/commission.

Chile

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination include race, color, sex, age, marital status, union membership, religion, political opinion, citizenship, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, language, beliefs, participation in professional trade associations, sexual orientation, gender identity, family situation, personal appearance, illness, disability and social origin.

China

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sex. However, the legal remedy in this respect is limited in China.

Colombia

Employers may not discriminate against employees or job candidates on the basis of: age, ethnic origin/race, sex, citizenship, disability, health conditions, religion, opinions, sexual orientation, marital status, union membership or any other criteria.

Czech Republic

Direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment, victimization, incitement to discrimination and instruction to discriminate are prohibited. Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

Protected characteristics: race, ethnic origin, nationality, sex (including pregnancy, maternity, paternity and sexual identification), sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, belief or worldviews. 

Denmark

Danish legislation prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, and victimization and harassment, on various grounds including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, nationality, religion or belief, and sex or sexual orientation.

Employers may take positive action in the form of differential treatment if an employee with a disability is employed. In that case, the employer is obliged to take adequate measures to address the person's disadvantage in order for the person to overcome that disadvantage and function on an equal basis with other employees.

Finland

All employees have the right to equal treatment. Employers must not discriminate on the basis of gender, descent, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion, age, health, disability, political activity, trade union activity or related reasons. The provisions are set out in the Equality Act and the Non-Discrimination Act. All employees, including applicants, are protected against discrimination.

France

Protected characteristics: origins, sex, customs, sexual orientation, age, family situation, pregnancy, general characteristics, affiliation or non-affiliation, whether actual or assumed, to an ethnic group, a nation or a race, political opinions, activities linked to a union or a mutual benefit company, religious beliefs, physical appearance, family name, health and disability, and place of residence.

Germany

Statutory protection against unlawful discrimination and harassment based on: race or ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation.

Hong Kong

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination, victimization and harassment: sex, pregnancy, marital status, family status (ie, having responsibility for the care of an immediate family member), disability, race and union affiliation.

Hungary

Direct and indirect discrimination, victimization, unlawful segregation and harassment are prohibited.

Employers are forbidden to discriminate against employees on grounds of sex, race, color, nationality, national or ethnic origin, mother tongue, disability, health status, religion or belief, political or other opinion, marital status, sexual orientation, age, or any other circumstances which are not connected to work.

The principle of equal treatment is not violated if the differences applied are based on a difference in the nature, the quality or the quantity of the work, a difference in working conditions, required training, experience, responsibility or based on differences in the labor market conditions.

India

The right to equality is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution and state institutions are expressly prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sex, caste, religion, race and place of birth. Although  these provisions do not strictly apply to employment in the private sector, employers in the private sector are bound by the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976. This guarantees equal pay to employees performing the same work, or work of a similar nature, regardless of gender. It prohibits discrimination against women in the context of recruitment, promotion, training and transfer.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 (POSH Act) also protects and provides a means of redress for women who suffer from sexual harassment at work. The POSH Act has wide application because its definition of 'workplace' covers both public and private establishments and covers regular, ad-hoc or temporary employees, either employed directly or through an agent. The POSH Act requires all offices, hospitals, institutions and other workplaces to have an internal mechanism for addressing complaints related to sexual harassment, including providing for settlement by way of conciliation. The employer has to have an internal complaints committee to look into complaints, hold an inquiry and submit a report to address any issues relating to sexual harassment. The District Officer can establish a local complaints committee for establishments that do not have internal complaints committees due to employing less than ten workers, or when the complaint is against the employer.

The employer is also prohibited from committing any unfair trade practices listed in the IDA, including discriminating against workmen.

The RPWD Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of a persons disability, unless proportionate to achieve a legitimate aim. Under the RPWD Act, an employer must ensure that a person is not denied a promotion merely on the ground of his/her disability. It also requires all employers to notify and publish an equal opportunity policy with details of facilities and amenities provided to persons with disabilities to enable them to effectively discharge their duties in the establishment. For establishments with 20 or more employees:

  • the policy must contain a list of positions suitable for persons with disabilities; the manner of selection of persons with disabilities, post-recruitment and pre-promotion training, preference in transfer and posting, special leave, preference in allotment of residential accommodation, if any, and other facilities; details of the provisions for assistive devices, barrier-free accessibility and other provisions; and details of the liaison officer
  • a liaison officer must be appointed to look after the recruitment of persons with disabilities and the provision of facilities and amenities

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 (HIV Act), in effect since September 10, 2018, prohibits discrimination against a person who is HIV positive or a person who lives with or has lived with a person who is HIV positive in matters related to employment, including denial of or termination of employment.

Indonesia

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination: sex, ethnicity, race, religion and political orientation.

No regulated protection from harassment for employees. Employees wishing to take action against sexual harassment in the workplace can file a claim on the basis of the civil tort law.

Ireland

Direct and indirect discrimination prohibited, along with victimization and harassment. Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: Gender, age, race/nationality, religion, family status, civil status, disability, sexual orientation and/or membership of the Traveller community.

Israel

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, race, religious belief, nationality, country of origin, place of residency, opinion, political party, participation in military service (including military reserve duty), and matrimonial and parental status.

Italy

Employees are protected against direct and indirect discrimination during the course of their employment, on several grounds, such as sex, religion, race, color, political opinion. Discrimination is always prohibited (from the hiring procedure to the termination of employment).

Japan

Japan's labor law recognizes the principle of equal treatment of employees. Discriminatory treatment with respect to wages, working hours, or other working conditions by reason of nationality, creed or social status is prohibited. This includes a prohibition against discrimination with respect to dismissal, fringe benefits, pay and all other aspects of the working relationship between employer and employee.

For instance, the Law Respecting the Guarantee of Equal Opportunity and Treatment Between Men and Women in Employment prohibits discrimination regarding gender in recruitment, hiring and employment in Japan.

Kenya

Direct and indirect discrimination prohibited, along with victimization and harassment. It is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, color, tribe, sex, religion, political opinion or affiliation, national extraction, nationality, social origin, marital status, HIV status or disability.

Kuwait

Disability discrimination. A person with special needs is defined under the Kuwaiti Handicapped Law as "any person suffering from total or partial deficiency or disorder; permanently or temporarily in his physical, sensory, mental, communicative, educational or psychological abilities to an extent reducing the possibility of meeting his normal requirements."

Only Kuwaiti nationals with special needs have the right to work and occupy positions.

Flexible working hours and suitable equipment in order to perform their work must be provided to these employees, and these employees must not face any discrimination.

There are no other discrimination provisions in the Labor Law, except for a provision stating that a female employee shall have the right to the same salary given to a male employee if she performs the same job.

Luxembourg

Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, nationality, racial or ethnic origin and sex is prohibited with regard to access to employment, access to all types and levels of vocational guidance, employment and working conditions, and membership of and involvement in an organization of workers or employers.

Malaysia

There is no statutory protection against discrimination.

Mexico

Employers may not discriminate against employees or job candidates on the basis of: age, ethnic origin/race, sex, citizenship, disabilities, health conditions, religion, opinions, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other criteria.

Morocco

Discrimination based on race, skin color, gender, religion, political opinions, social origin, and union freedom, is forbidden by article 9 of the Labor Code.

Discrimination between men and women regarding wages is specifically prohibited by article 346 of the Labor Code.

Mozambique

All employees are guaranteed equal rights at work, regardless of their ethnic origin, language, race, gender, marital status, age (within the limits set by law), social condition, religious and political ideas and membership or non-membership in a union.

Measures that benefit certain disadvantaged groups, namely, measures based on gender, impaired work capacity, disability or chronic disease, taken for the purpose of guaranteeing the exercise of the rights set forth in this law on an equal footing, and to correct a persistent factual situation of inequality in social life, shall not be considered as discriminatory.

Female employees shall be respected and any act performed in violation of their dignity shall be punished by law. Employees who commit acts which violate the dignity of a female employee shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings. Employers are forbidden from dismissing, imposing sanctions or otherwise causing prejudice to a female employee on the basis of allegations of discrimination or exclusion.

Harassment, including sexual harassment, whether committed in or outside of the workplace, which interferes with the security of employment or with the professional progress of the employee, constitutes a disciplinary offense.
Employers shall promote measures that allow disabled employees to enjoy the same rights and have the same responsibilities as other employees. Instruments of collective labor regulation may establish special measures to protect disabled employees. There are no specific regulations on this matter, but as a matter of practice employers would for instance refurbish the workplace entrance to allow easy access for disabled employees in wheelchairs.

Employees with HIV-AIDS may not be discriminated against.

Myanmar

The employer shall not discriminate or fail to honor employment rights equally on the grounds of the employee being a member of a labor organization, nationality, religion, race, sex and age.

Employees are entitled to the prescribed minimum wage without discrimination on the basis of gender.

Netherlands

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

New Zealand

Employees are protected from discrimination and harassment under both the Employment Relations Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1993. Protected characteristics are age (from 16 years), color, disability, employment status, family status, marital status, political opinion, race, ethnic or national origins, religious or ethical belief, sex, sexual orientation and union involvement.

Nigeria

The Nigerian Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of gender, religion, age, political affinity, and ethnic/tribal group.

Norway

Both direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited with regard to all aspects of the employment relationship. 

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination: political views, membership of a trade union, sexual orientation, disability, gender, age, ethnic origin, national origin, descent, color, language, religion, and ethical and cultural orientation.

Employees and applicants with disabilities are entitled to appropriate individual adaption of their workplace and tasks

Oman

There are no specific discrimination laws in Oman, save for 2 provisions in the Labor Law relating to non-discrimination of women employed in similar situations to men and preference for employment of Omani nationals. The Basic Law and Penal Code prohibit abuse or harassment on the grounds of gender, origin, color, language, religion, sect, domicile, and social status.

Philippines

Against women

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex. (Labor Code of the Philippines, Art. 135)

The Labor Code of the Philippines likewise considers it unlawful for an employer to require, as a condition for or continuation of employment, that a woman employee shall not get married or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated. (Labor Code of the Philippines, Art. 136)

Sexual harassment is also prohibited. (Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995)

Against persons with disability

No disabled persons shall be denied access to opportunities for suitable employment. A qualified disabled employee shall be subject to the same terms and conditions of employment and the same compensation, privileges, benefits, fringe benefits, incentives or allowances as a qualified able-bodied person. (Republic Act No. 2010911)

Based on age

It is unlawful for an employer to do one the following:

  • Print or publish, or cause to be printed or published, in any form of media, any notice of advertisement relating to employment suggesting preferences, limitations, specifications and discrimination based on age
  • Require the declaration of age or birth date during the application process
  • Decline any employment application because of the individual's age
  • Discriminate against an individual in terms of compensation, terms and conditions or privileges of employment on account of age
  • Deny promotion or opportunity for training because of age
  • Forcibly lay off an employee or worker because of old age
  • Impose early retirement on the basis of age (Section 5 (a) of Republic Act No. 10911)

Poland

Any discrimination against employees is prohibited. Provisions of employment contracts that infringe the principle of equal treatment are null and void, and the statutory provisions apply instead. Where there are no appropriate regulations, the infringing provisions should be replaced with appropriate provisions.

Portugal

Characteristics protected: ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital status, family status, economic status, education, social origin or status, genetic heritage, reduced working capacity, disability, chronic disease, nationality, ethnic origin or race, territory origin, language, religion, political or ideological beliefs, union membership and maternity.

Portugal also has specific pay equity legislation.

Qatar

There are no discrimination laws in Qatar except for provisions which state that a woman must be paid the same as a man if she performs the same work and must be provided with the same opportunities with regards to training and promotion. The topic of discrimination is however addressed in Qatar's Constitution which prohibits discrimination on numerous grounds. Qatar is a signatory to (and ratified) a number of international conventions relating to human rights and discrimination. Qatar has also set up a number of human rights committees that in turn ultimately ensure that individuals are treated fairly and on equal footing and are not discriminated against.

Romania

Direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited, along with victimization and harassment (including sexual harassment and psychological harassment). Employers have an obligation to include provisions prohibiting discrimination in their internal regulations.

The main characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: race, nationality, ethnic background, language, religion, social category, beliefs, age, disability, sex or sexual orientation, etc.

Russia

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, place of residence, disability, gender reassignment, family status, wealth, occupation, pregnancy or maternity, race, nationality, language, origin, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Saudi Arabia

Generally, there may be no discrimination in terms and conditions of employment (eg, as to leaves or end-of-service benefits), but, aside from the new rules below, there are few specific anti-discrimination or harassment laws. Some of the terms of the Labor Law are specific to expatriates. Provisions concerning foreign recruitment, repatriation and related matters do not apply to Saudi nationals. There are also some specific rules for female employees.

In June 2018, new anti-harassment laws took effect and provide that each private or public sector employer is required to take appropriate measures to prevent harassment in the workplace. This requires employers to follow certain procedures as stated in the law (ie, to have clear guidance and processes related to harassment complaints, and to have disciplinary procedures for harassment complaints, to confirm their validity and ensure their confidentiality).

Further, employers are required to investigate any breaches of their anti-harassment policies and the anti-harassment law, and must not interfere with the affected employee's right to raise a complaint to the authorities regarding any harassment. While the law is silent on how to publish these procedures and policies, employers must ensure their employees are aware of the relevant information.

Singapore

Singapore does not have any legislation which expressly prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation. While the Constitution provides that all persons are entitled to the equal protection of the law and that there shall be no discrimination based on religion, race, descent or place of birth, successful challenges on constitutional grounds are rare.

The main type of employment legislation that deals with the issue of discrimination concerns age discrimination. The Retirement and Re-employment Act applies to all employees and prohibits the dismissal of any employee who is below the current retirement age of 62 on the grounds of age, notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary.

Also, female employees under the EA may not be dismissed solely for being absent from work in accordance with the maternity leave provisions set out in the EA or in the Child Co-savings Development Act, though this is not characterized as discrimination per se.

The Enlistment Act generally prohibits employers from dismissing employees solely or mainly by reason of being called up for national service.

There are also general guidelines, such as the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, issued by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP), that encourage fair treatment of employees. If an individual encounters workplace discrimination in breach of these Tripartite Guidelines, they can contact TAFEP, which may first engage informally with the employer to assess if the complaint is meritorious. TAFEP can refer cases to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) where the employer is recalcitrant or unresponsive, and the MOM can impose certain administrative sanctions against errant employers (eg, curtailing work pass applications and privileges).

Slovak Republic

Direct and indirect unlawful discrimination and harassment is prohibited on grounds of sex, marital status and family status, sexual orientation, race, skin color, language, age, adverse health condition or disability, genetic characteristics, belief, religion, political or other views, trade union activity, national or social origin, nationality or ethnicity, property, gender or any other status.

South Africa

Direct and indirect unfair discrimination are prohibited. Sexual harassment and unequal pay on prohibited grounds are given express protection as forms of unfair discrimination. Designated employers are obliged to put into place affirmative action policies, including numerical targets but excluding quotas, to increase access to opportunities for previously disadvantaged South African citizens (African, Colored, Indian people, women and people with disabilities).

The listed grounds protected from unfair discrimination are race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, family responsibility, ethnic or social origin, color, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, HIV status, conscience, belief, political opinion, culture, language, birth and any other arbitrary ground.

South Korea

The LSA prohibits discrimination against employees on the grounds of sex, nationality, religion or social status. Discrimination is also prohibited under statutes protecting disabled employees, female employees, foreign workers, and non-regular workers. Age discrimination is also prohibited.

Spain

Characteristics protected: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, political ideas, union membership, family relationships with co-workers and language.

Discrimination cases are not frequent in Spain, with the exception of trade union-related issues, or discrimination based on family-related rights (ie, maternity, paternity).

Sweden

The Discrimination Act covers discrimination on the grounds of: sex, ethnic origin, religious or other belief, disability, sexual orientation, age and transgender identity or expression. The Discrimination Act contains provisions on active measures, supervision, and invalidity of discriminatory provisions in individual and collective bargaining agreements, entitlement to compensation and legal proceedings. The employer is required to take positive action in order to promote equal rights and opportunities irrespective of any of the protected characteristics.

Switzerland

Gender discrimination is directly prohibited. Other kinds of unjustified discrimination are indirectly prohibited (ie, only if the employee is able to prove that the discrimination has led to a violation of his or her personality, that is, when he or she has suffered painfully worse treatment than other employees, without any objective reason).

Taiwan

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: age, disability, class, thought, facial features, language, gender reassignment, marital status, political party, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Thailand

The Thai Constitution prohibits discrimination and the unequal treatment of employees. All persons are equal and shall enjoy equal protection under the law. Unjust discrimination against a person on the grounds of origin, race, language, sex, age, physical or health condition, personal status, economic or social standing, religious belief, education, or political views which do not contradict the Thai Constitution, or on other grounds, is not permitted.

The LPA also provides for equality in the workplace for employees, and requires that an employer should treat male and female employees equally in their employment, unless the nature of the work or working conditions does not allow the employer to do so.

An employer must also set equal wages, overtime pay, holiday pay and holiday overtime pay to be paid to employees whose work is of the same nature and quality and equal quantity or same value, notwithstanding whether the employees are male or female.

The Thai Labor Standards Corporate Social Responsibility of Thai Business, as launched by the Ministry of Labor, specifically prohibits discrimination in employment on grounds of national origin, race, religion, language, age, sex, marital status, personal attitude on gender or sexual orientation, invalidity, HIV/AIDS status, trade union membership, employees' committee membership, political affiliation or other personal opinions.

Turkey

No discrimination based on language, race, color, sex, disability, political opinion, philosophical opinion, religion or similar reasons, union membership or non-membership, or maternity is permissible.

Uganda

Statutory protection against unlawful discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, national or social origin, HIV status or disability.

Every employer shall pay male and female equal remuneration for work of equal value.

Ukraine

Discrimination based on any ground unrelated to ability to perform job duties is prohibited. Prohibited grounds include: race, ethnic or social origin, political, religious or other beliefs, skin color, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, family and property status, membership in a trade union or other civil group, participation in a strike, language attributes, age, etc.

United Arab Emirates

Since August 2015, legislation has been in force which was primarily designed to combat religious contempt and intolerance. However, through the introduction of the wide definition of "discrimination," it could have broader consequences for the workplace. Under the new legislation, discrimination is defined as any distinction, restriction, exclusion or preference on the basis of one of the protected characteristics (religion, creed, doctrine, sect, caste, race, color or ethnic origin). This new discrimination law does not remove the discriminatory provisions in existing law such as positive discrimination in favor of national employees or any advantage, preference or benefit upon women, children, disabled persons, the elderly or others prescribed by any other legislation.

There are also specific anti-discrimination provisions in the Dubai International Financial Centre Free Zone Employment Regulations and the Abu Dhabi Global Market Regulations.

Under the UAE Labor Law, there are provisions which state that a woman must be paid the same as a man if she performs the same work. A new draft pay equality law has now been issued.

Under the new discrimination legislation, it is important to note that the representative, director or agent of a legal entity may be held vicariously liable for offenses under that law committed by employees of that entity. In order for vicarious liability to arise, the offense must have been committed with the knowledge of the representative/director/agent, and the employee must have been acting in the entity's name or to its interest.

United Kingdom

Direct and indirect discrimination is prohibited, along with victimization and harassment. Employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for persons with disabilities.

Characteristics protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment: Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

United States

Federal law generally protects employees from discrimination, harassment or retaliation based on: race, color, religion, sex (including transgender identities and, potentially, sexual orientation), national origin – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII); age (over 40) – Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); disability – Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and genetic information – Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). State and local protected categories vary and are often broader, and include: creed, sexual orientation, marital status, domestic partnership status, military status, domestic violence victim status, arrest record, conviction record, alienage, citizenship status, and unemployment status. Some states and local jurisdictions have banned asking candidates about compensation history in an attempt to reduce pay inequality.

Venezuela

Discrimination, exclusion, preference or restriction in employment based on race, sex, age, legal status, religion, political opinion, nationality, sexual orientation, persons with disabilities, social origin and criminal records are prohibited. The non-discrimination principle in employment also includes the pre-contractual relationship. Employers may not include discriminatory provisions in job applications or employment agreements. No persons shall be discriminated against, with regard to their right to work, due to having a criminal record.

Vietnam

Any discrimination on the grounds of gender, nationality, social class, marital status, religion, HIV status, disability, joining or establishing a trade union, and discrimination against outsourced employees is prohibited.