Chapter 19: General principles of equal treatment in EU non-discrimination law
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Under European Union law, equal treatment or non-discrimination is a multi-faceted general principle with different manifestations. The chapter focuses on the role of the European Union's general principles of equal treatment in the field of non-discrimination law in relation to racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation. The chapter discusses a number of functions of the general principles of equal treatment related to these grounds as recognised through the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, namely the function of an anchor for Union secondary legislation on the legislative level, an aid to interpretation of Union secondary law, a gap-filling tool for cases where there is a lacuna on the level of the protection of individual rights under Union law and a benchmark for the validity of secondary Union law. The most controversial of these is the function of a gap-filling tool. It is from here that the Court's case law has developed into something broader which concerns not only general principles of equal treatment but also general principles more broadly and provisions of the Union's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

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