Currently, the issue of LGBTQ rights is a topic that is finding its place on the agenda in Turkey. It is an area to which employers should pay attention, while ensuring they fulfil their legal obligations.
Some of the key issues under Turkish law are explained below.
Under the Turkish Constitution and Turkish Labour Law, no discrimination based on language, race, colour, gender, disability, political thought, philosophical belief, religion, sect and similar reasons is allowed in the employment relationship. Although this provision does not specifically mention LGBTQ or sexual preference or identity, as the law refers to ‘similar reasons’, discrimination on the grounds of LGBTQ identity is deemed to be within the scope of this provision.
Additionally, employers must not directly or indirectly discriminate against an employee in the conclusion, conditions, execution and termination of the employment contract on the grounds of the employee’s gender or maternity (except for biological reasons or reasons related to the nature of the job). Different remuneration for similar jobs or for work of equal value based on gender is not permitted. The fact that special protective provisions apply because of an employee’s gender cannot justify paying him or her a lower wage. We are of the opinion that discrimination based on being LGBTQ will also be deemed to be within the scope of this prohibition.
In the event of discrimination contrary to these Labour Law provisions, in addition to being liable for an administrative monetary fine, employers may be liable for compensation up to the employee’s salary for four months and compensation for the rights of which the employee is deprived, if any.
In addition, according to the Law on Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, every person is equally entitled to benefit from the rights and freedoms granted by the law. Discrimination based on gender, race, colour, language, religion, belief, sect, philosophical and political view, ethnic origin, wealth, birth, marital status, health condition, disability and age is also prohibited under the Law on Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey. This protection also extends to LGBTQ identity.
In the event of discrimination contrary to these provisions, employers can be liable for administrative monetary fines and employees might file compensation claims.
For more information on discrimination