Article 16 - Freedom to conduct a business
Key facts of the case:
Reference for a preliminary ruling – Equal treatment in employment and occupation – Directive 2000/78/EC – Article 3(1)(a) and (c) – Conditions for access to self-employment – Employment and working conditions – Prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation – Self-employed person working on the basis of a contract for specific work – Termination and non-renewal of contract – Freedom to choose a contracting party.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby rules:
Article 3(1)(a) and (c) of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation
must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which has the effect of excluding, on the basis of the freedom of choice of contracting parties, from the protection against discrimination to be conferred by that directive, the refusal, based on the sexual orientation of a person, to conclude or renew with that person a contract concerning the performance of specific work by that person in the context of the pursuit of a self-employed activity.
74) The protection afforded by Article 16 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, entitled ‘Freedom to conduct a business’, covers the freedom to exercise an economic or commercial activity, freedom of contract and free competition and covers, in particular, the freedom to choose with whom to do business (judgment of 21 December 2021, Bank Melli Iran, C‑124/20, EU:C:2021:1035, paragraph 79 and the case-law cited).