With recruitment notices in 2018 and 2022, the Hellenic Police (ELAS) violated national and EU law by discriminating against transgender people and violating the principle of equal treatment of citizens regardless of their gender identity in access to employment.
On 18 May 2022, following a complaint, the Ombudsman issued a finding stating that the universal exclusion of transgender candidates from police schools constitutes unjustified direct discrimination under Article 2 para. 2 of Law No. 4443/2016 (Government Gazette A’ 232/9.12.2016), which prohibits any form of discrimination on the grounds of gender identity.
The exclusion of transgender persons from the Schools of Officers and Police Officers of ELAS is done in the context of the implementation of Presidential Decree 11/2014 on the physical fitness of the personnel of the Armed Forces and Security Forces (Government Gazette A’ 17/27.1.2014).
A recruitment notice issued on 11 February 2022 again mentioned that the candidates must be in good health and in good physical condition as a required qualification for admission to the Police and Police Officer Schools, and as determined by the competent Health Classification Committee, and in accordance with PD 11/2014. However, this legal framework, despite scientific medical developments to the contrary, has not been amended, with its provisions continuing to refer to transgender status as a “gender identity disorder” and a mental illness.
Taking into account the above facts, the Ombudsman concluded that the exclusion of transgender persons from admission to police schools solely on the basis of their transgender status constitutes direct discrimination against them and a violation of the principle of equal treatment of citizens irrespective of their gender identity in access to employment and work. The principle of equal treatment is provided for both by Law No. 4443/2016 and by Directive 2000/78/EC, which guarantees at EU level the equality of persons in the workplace, irrespective of their religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
A state governed by the rule of law must guarantee, both in law and in reality, the equal treatment of citizens in employment and access to work, irrespective of their gender identity, religion, belief, disability, age or other characteristic.
However, the Ombudsman’s conclusions show that the Greek authorities have violated the provisions of Law No. 4443/2016 and Directive 2000/78/EC, by excluding transgender persons from admission to police schools. Furthermore, despite the conclusions of the independent authority, recruitment notices in 2022 continue to violate this legislation.
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