Top EU court sides with LGBTQ worker in Polish case

The EU’s top court, weighing in on a Polish discrimination claim, ruled Thursday that self-employed workers must benefit from the same sexual orientation protections as other employees.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruling came after a man, whose identity has not been disclosed, was refused a new freelance contract with Poland’s public television broadcaster in 2017.

He said the refusal coincided with the release of a Christmas video he recorded with his partner to promote tolerance towards same-sex couples, despite his having previously collaborated with the broadcaster.

The judges said refusing a labor contract on the grounds of sexual orientation was a violation of EU law, even with regard to freelance contracts that often give more flexibility to both employers and self-employed workers.

“Conditions for access to employment, to self-employment or to occupation… must be construed broadly, covering the access to any occupational activity, whatever the nature and characteristics of such activity” and irrespective of the “legal form in which it is provided,” they said.

But the EU court left it up to Polish judges to determine whether EU laws against LGBTQ discrimination had been violated in the case against the broadcaster.

Poland, an EU member currently led by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, has been at loggerheads with Brussels for years over claims that Warsaw is failing to fully uphold EU laws, in particular with regards to the judiciary.

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