In June and November 2000, the European Parliament and the Council adopted two Directives referring to ‘the principle of equal treatment irrespective of’ in their title, one relating to racial and ethnic origin, the other to disability, age, religion and belief or sexual orientation. A thorough reform of Directive 76/207/EEC on the principle of equal treatment for women and men in employment matters is pending between the European Parliament's second reading and adoption while this is written. Community secondary legislation on equal treatment of persons has thus expanded in scope and number of reasons which must not serve as starting points for differentiation. Does this signify progress in legal protection against personal discrimination? While not providing a ready answer, this article proposes an analytical framework to answer this question, concentrating on conceptions of equality in general and in particular on the problems multi-dimensional discrimination might pose for the law. Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2002.
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