Equal Treatment Principle of the Turkish Labour Law

August 29, 2022by Bünyamin Esen0

One of the obligations imposed on employers by the Turkish Labor Code No. 4857, which is the basic law of the Turkish Labor Law, is the obligation to treat their employees equally in all aspects. Accordingly, employers are obliged to treat their workers equally in terms of duties, wages, rights, obligations and opportunities and not to discriminate. Different treatment to workers can only be justified based on their merits related to the job and profession.

Specifically, no discrimination based on language, race, color, gender, disability, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion, sect and similar reasons can be made in the employment relationship by the employer.

Unless there are fundamental reasons, the employer cannot treat a part-time worker against a full-time worker, or a fixed-term worker against an indefinite-term worker. Thus, the nature of the employment contract cannot be a ground for just discrimination.

Unless biological or work-related reasons necessitate, the employer cannot directly or indirectly make a difference to an employee in the conclusion of the employment contract, in the creation, implementation and termination of the employment contract, due to gender or pregnancy.

For work of the same or equal value, a lower wage cannot be agreed on the basis of gender.

As to note, positive discrimination in favour of the disadvantaged groups, such as disabled, elderly, young, cannot be considered within this scope as long as it is being grounded soundly.

The application of special protective provisions due to the gender of the worker does not justify the application of a lower wage.

In case of violation of the provisions of the above principles in the employment relationship or its termination, the worker may also demand from the labour court the rights that he has been deprived of, in addition to a suitable compensation amounting to his wages up to four months. The provisions protection of job security and termination rules with just cause are kept reserved.

Without prejudice to the provisions of the Article 20 of the Labour Code No. 4857, the worker is obliged to prove that the employer has acted in violation of the rules of equal treatment. However, when the worker presents a situation that strongly indicates the possibility of a violation, the employer is obliged to prove that such a violation does not exist.

Bünyamin Esen

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