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Public Defender Founds Direct Discrimination on the ground of Person’s Criminal Record in Labour Relations

On 1 November 2018, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed Clean World Ltd with a recommendation in connection with direct discrimination on the ground of person’s criminal record.

According to the application, on 20 January 2018, theft was committed in the workplace, after which, representatives of the company expressed mistrust towards the applicant, since on the same day, they learned from the applicant himself/herself that he/she had been convicted of theft. Following this, the company representatives told the applicant that he/she could not continue working because they were not sure that he would not steal again. The applicant was offered to file a resignation application and was promised to be employed on the same position in a different facility with lower risks of theft. Therefore, on 22 January 2018, the applicant was dismissed on the basis of his/her own application. It should be noted that the examination of the footage of surveillance video cameras on the night of the theft showed that the offence was committed by another employee, who was immediately dismissed from the Clean World.

In her recommendation, the Public Defender assessed the factual circumstances in the context of labour law and explained that the applicant and the respondent had not formally signed a probationary contract. Accordingly, the Public Defender explained that there was an oral agreement on indefinite employment between the parties. In addition, the Public Defender did not trust the respondent’s explanation that the decision on the change of workplace, which K.J. confirmed in writing, was made by the applicant independently.

The Public Defender noted that the main purpose of sentences is to re-socialize convicts. During the sentence, the offender shall receive or enhance the education and skills he/she wishes and shall be given the opportunity to participate in sporting, artistic, intellectual or other activities. Re-socialization of convicts is a complex issue and not just the responsibility of convicts or the state. The attitude of the society is of great importance in this regard. It is unacceptable to stigmatize and distrust people unless there are real grounds.

The Public Defender stated in the recommendation that the theft, which, according to the respondent, was neither properly investigated nor committed by the applicant, could not serve as a ground for termination of the employment contract solely due to the fact that the applicant had previously been convicted.

Given all the above, the Public Defender recommended Clean World Ltd to eliminate the consequences of the discriminatory treatment of the applicant by reinstating him/her in the workplace, to refrain from discriminatory treatment in the workplace due to person’s criminal record or other grounds and to observe the principle of equality in the future.

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