General Equal Treatment Act

Chronic diseases are unchangeable personality characteristics that are only protected by the Equal Treatment Act when they are considered a disability. The disease itself is not a ground for discrimination under the Equal Treatment Act. If the chronic disease does not reach the degree of disability, those affected remain unprotected.

“The act aims to prevent or eliminate discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin, sex, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity.”- Article 1 of the act.

In the General Equal Treatment Act it is clear that discrimination on grounds of disability is to be prevented or eliminated. The term “chronic disease”, however, is not explicitly mentioned. Therefore it is questionable whether chronic diseases are covered by the term “disability”. According to the prevailing opinion, the concept of disability in the Equal Treatment Act is inspired by the ninth book of the Social Code (Rehabilitation and Participation of Disabled People):

“People are disabled, when their body function, mental capacity or psychological health is highly likely to diverge for longer than 6 months from the typical for the age condition and thus their participation in social life is impaired. They are at risk of disability also when their impairment is expected.", Social security code IX, Article 2(1).

The Federal Labour Court ruled in December 2013, a judgment, which strengthens the rights of HIV-positive people in the workplace, in terms of which the court decided that that HIV infection falls under the term “disability” of Equal Treatment Act. The action was supported by BUG.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2011