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Necessary Amendments for Improvement of Anti-discrimination Mechanism Reflected in Parliamentary Report 2015

On of the issues reviewed in the Public Defender's ParliamentaryReport 2015 is making necessary amendments to the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination.

Under the national law, the term for applying to the court is 1 month in case of a dismissal of an employee and 3 months – in case of discrimination. The Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination stipulates that the Public Defender shall suspend proceedings if review of the same case of alleged discrimination is underway in court. Under the circumstances when an employee is given an essentially short period of time to appeal against a decision in court and when the period missed during the study of a case by the Public Defender is not compensated for, applicants, in most cases, appeal to the court in parallel with the Public Defender, which leads to suspension of proceedings by the Public Defender. The same can be said about other disputes, where the term for applying to court is 3 months and where an applicant files a lawsuit with the claim for getting a compensation for damages. As a result, a lot of disputes and possibility for their rapid settlement remain beyond the competence of the Public Defender’s Office. The Public Defender recommended arrangement of the legislative frames so that the functions of the Public Defender and court do not cover each other and their mutual co-existence, through mutual assistance, is focused on effective protection of people from discrimination.

A three-month term for applying to court for victims of discrimination is not enough for getting case materials ready for filing a lawsuit. The Public Defender considers that the three-month period should be increased to one year.

It should also be noted that getting information from physical and natural persons of private law about the review of a case depends only on parties’ good will, which is why the thorough examination of case circumstances is considerably complicated in practice. Accordingly, it would be appropriate to record in the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination that private individuals or public bodies are obliged to provide all necessary materials if there is a reasonable suspicion of discrimination.

Pursuant to subparagraph “b” of paragraph 1 of article 9 of the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, the Public Defender shall suspend proceedings if administrative proceedings are underway over the same case of alleged discrimination. If discrimination is committed by a lower administrative body, its higher administrative authority is not able to make an effective response or restore the violated right (identification of discrimination, compensation for damages), which is why it cannot be considered as an alternative for the review of a case by the Public Defender. Accordingly, it would be reasonable to remove subparagraph "b" of paragraph 1 from article 9.

In order to improve the anti-discrimination mechanism, the Public Defender has addressed the Parliament of Georgia with a legislative proposal to make amendments to the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, the Organic Law on the Public Defender, the Civil Procedure Code and the Law on Public Service.

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