legal complaint where persons consider themselves wronged by failure to apply the principle of equal treatment, and where there is a prima facie case of discrimination, it is for the defendant to prove that there has been no contravention of the principle.

Additional notes and information

In the area of equal treatment between women and men, Council Directive 97/80/EC of 15 December 1997, based on the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, shifts the burden of proof between the parties (defendant and complainant).


(1) European Commission (1998). 100 Words for Equality: A Glossary of Terms on Equality between Women and Men.

(2) Judgement of 17 October 1989 in Case C 109/88, Danfoss (ECR, p. I-3199, paragraph 16); Council Directive 97/80/EC of 15 December 1997 on the burden of proof in cases of discrimination based on sex).