► The Equal Treatment of Men and Women in Employment and Vocational Education Act (Law 205(Ι)/2002),
► The Equal Treatment in Employment and Labour Law (Law 58(Ι)/2004),
► The Equal Pay for Men and Women for Equal Work or Equal Employment Act (Law 177(Ι)/2002)
► The Equal Treatment of Men and Women (Access to Goods and Services) Law (Law 18(Ι)/2008).
Based on the relevant legislation, the field of action of the Equality Body extends and covers the sectors of social protection, social insurance, social benefits, health treatment, education, and access to goods and services, including housing, employment and professional training.
The Ombudsman, as Equality Body, also has institutionally guaranteed jurisdictions that cover a wider span of activities, of preventive, informative and educational nature. Amongst these action possibilities are included the promotion of the principle of equal treatment of all individuals, taking measures for the practical implementation of the legislative provisions that provide protection from treatment, which constitutes prohibited discrimination, the imposing of measures of the nature of sanctions (recommendations, fines, or orders) in cases where discrimination is found, which is prohibited by law, drafting Codes of Practice for issues of discrimination, conducting studies andstatistical research for issues of discrimination and the examination of issues of general interest, 19 regarding discrimination, either ex officio, or after the application of individuals or organizations.
Amongst the jurisdictions of the Ombudsman, as Equality Body, based on the aforementioned legislations, is also the investigation, with out-of-court nature procedures, of complaints of individuals who believe that they have had unfavourable treatment in employment or at work, in the private or in the public sector, for reasons that are related to their racial or ethnic origin, religion or their beliefs, age, disability, sexual orientation or their sex, as well as complaints of employees, dueto pregnancy, breast-feeding or maternity. Furthermore, the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman as Equality Body extends also to the investigation of complaints, related to discrimination due to sex in the sector of access to goods and services and their provision, including the insurance and financial services, both in the private and the public sector. An important parameter during the investigation of the complaints by the Ombudsman, as Equality Body, is the principle of the reversal of the burden of proof. That is, after the sufficient, documented complaint for a possible prohibited discrimination, the person against whom a complaint has been registered is called upon to prove that he/she has notmade the prohibited discrimination for which he/she has been reported. If it is found that the said complaint is well-founded, the Ombudsman, as Equality Body, may impose a fine to the person against whom a complaint has been made or/and after respective consultations, may make a recommendation to this person, which is of a binding nature. In addition, in case it is found, that in any service programme, Law, Regulation or other legislation, there exists a provision, condition or criterion or any provision, condition or other legislation is going to be implemented, which constitutes a prohibited discrimination, the Ombudsman submits a Report relevant to the subject, to the Attorney General of the Republic.
Further to the aforementioned, that is, the investigation of complaints, the Ombudsman, as Equality Body, has the discretion and authority of:
► Ex officio examination of issues concerning prohibited discrimination.
► Provision of advice with regards to issues of discrimination and the implementation of the principle of equal treatment in the public or private sector.
► Issuing and publishing of orders in the Official Gazette of the Republic when prohibited discrimination is found, in which, the discrimination is defined and a deadline for its termination is placed in the way specified in the orders.
► Taking measures for the practical implementation of the legislation which prohibits the discrimination.
► Examination, subsequent to written applications by the public or private sector, whether the existing provisions, criteria or practices that are maintained, may constitute discrimination prohibited by law.
► Conducting studies and statistical research with respect to discrimination and publishing of their results.
It is noted that, in the context of the jurisdiction given to the Commissioner by The Fight Against Racial and Certain Discrimination (Commissioner) Law, in its capacity as an Equality and Anti-Discrimination Body, also examines issues related to discrimination of people with disabilities and in particular issues related to accessibility and the refusal to provide them reasonable accommodations. In this context, a number of Commissioner's interventions are combined, both in its capacity as an Equality and AntiDiscrimination Body and in its capacity as an Independent Mechanism for the Promotion, Protection and Monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.