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La liberté de religion au travail

In the Czech Republic, religious freedom in the workplace is guaranteed. The Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (Charter) includes religious freedom in the catalogue of fundamental human rights and freedoms.

Section 1 of Article 3 of the Charter declares that : “Everyone is guaranteed the enjoyment of his/her fundamental rights and freedoms without regard to gender, race, colour of skin, language, faith and religion, political or other conviction, national or social origin, membership in a national or ethnic minority, property, birth, or other status”. This provision explicitly prohibits discrimination on grounds of “faith and religion”.

Religious freedom is expressly secured by Articles 15 and 16 of the Charter.

According to the Act on Employment No. 435/2004, Section 4, all types of employers shall ensure equal treatment of all natural persons exercising their right to employment. Any form of discrimination of persons exercising their right to employment is prohibited.

Act No. 262/2006, the Labour Code, Section 16, ensures equal treatment for all employees as regards employee working conditions, remuneration for work and other emoluments in cash and in kind (of monetary value), vocational (professional) training and opportunities for career advancement (promotion) and prohibits any form of discrimination at the workplace.

Anti-discrimination Act No. 198/2009 permits, under specific conditions, differential treatment if the employer is a religious community. Its section 6, subsection 4, contains the following provision : “A different treatment is applied in matters of the right to employment, access to employment or vocation in the case of paid employment performed in churches or religious societies, where, by reason of the nature of such work or the circumstances in which it is carried out, the religious belief, faith or worldview constitutes a genuine, justified and legitimate occupational qualification with respect to the ethos of the church or religious society.”

Legal status of clergy and other pastoral employees

The service of clergy and other pastoral employees of religious communities (even lay pastoral assistants) is ruled by their internal law. Conflicts are dealt with by their own courts and other authorities. If a religious community has no available rule, state rules are used as a subsidiary source of law. This is affected by the principle of autonomy of religious communities, which means the right of religious communities to make their own regulations, independent of the state and its bodies. (See Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, Article 16, section 2).

A decision of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic of 26 March 1997 rejected the jurisdiction of secular courts in disputes concerning the termination of a service relationship involving members of the clergy. In 2001, the European Court of Human Rights confirmed this decision in Dudová and Duda v. the Czech Republic.

Legal status of non-pastoral employees

The employment of non-pastoral employees of religious communities is ruled by secular law, namely the Labour Code, Act No. 262/2006.

For more information, see :
 TRETERA, Jiří Rajmund, HORÁK, Záboj, “Law and Religion in the Workplace in the Czech Republic” in RODRÍGUEZ BLANCO, Miguel (ed.), Law and Religion in the Workplace, Proceedings of the XXVIIth Annual Conference of the European Consortium for Church and State Research, Alcalá de Henares, 12-15 November 2015, Granada, Comares, December 2016, p. 131–141.
 TRETERA, Jiří Rajmund, HORÁK, Záboj, “Czech Republic”, in ROBBERS, Gerhard, DURHAM, W. Cole Jr., THAYER, Donlu (ed.), Encyclopedia of Law and Religion, Volume 4–Europe, Brill/Nijhoff, Leiden/Boston, 2016, p. 84–91.
 TRETERA, Jiří Rajmund, HORÁK, Záboj, “Czech Republic”, in HILL, Mark (ed.), Religion and Discrimination Law in the European Union / La discrimination en matière religieuse dans l’Union Européenne, Institute for European Constitutional Law, University of Trier, on behalf of the European Consortium for Church and State Research, Trier, 2012, p. 87–93.

D 31 août 2017    AZáboj Horák

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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