Affirmative action (constitutional law/human rights) [Ro: discriminare pozitiva, Fr: discrimination positive, Gr.: θετική διάκριση] (See also: positive discrimination, employment equity) = an action or a series of policies which have the purpose of favouring groups of individuals who have been subject to discrimination, such as minorities or vulnerable groups of society. It is often used in employment law, where opportunities are increased within a particular  group. The methods that are generally used are either quotas or just priority in the selection process.

Useful resources

Legislation - Romanian Government Ordinnance no. 137/2000 regarding the prevention and sanctioning of all types of discrimination [Romanian] - Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures, 2012/0299 (COD) [English] - Equality Act 2010, UK [English] - Executive order 26/2012, Article 34 [Greek]

Organisations and associations - General Secretariat for Gender Equality [Greek] - United States Department of Labor [English]

Case Law - CJEU, Case C-409/95 - Marschall v Land Nordrhein-Westfalen, 1997 I-06363 [English] - CJEU, Case C-158/97 - Badeck and Others, 2000 I-01875 [English] - CJEU, Case C-407/98 - Abrahamsson and Anderson, 2000 I-05539 [English] - Grutter v. Bollinger 539 U.S. 306 (2003) [English] - CJEU, Case C-319/03 Serge Briheche v Ministre de l'Intérieur, Ministre de l'Éducation nationale and Ministre de la Justice, 2004 I-08807 [English]

Online publications - Cass R. Sunstein, Public Deliberation, Affirmative Action, and the Supreme Court, 84 Calif. L. Rev. 1179 (1996) [English] – Ciocchetti, C.A., Holcomb, J., The Frontier Of Affirmative Action: Employment Preferences & Diversity In The Private Workplace, 2010 [English] - Kristic, I, 2003, Affirmative Action In The United States And The European Union: Comparison And Analysis, Law and Politics Vol. 1, No 7, Facta Universitatis [English] - Sander, R.H, A Systemic Analysis Of Affirmative Action In American Law Schools [English] - E. Rethimniotaki; M. Maropoulou; C. Tsakistraki, 2015, Feminism and the law, Kallipos [Greek] - Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality, National Programme for Substantive Gender Equality 2010-2013, Ministry of Interior Decentralisation and E-Government [English] - Greek General Secretariat for Gender Equality, National Programme for Substantive Gender Equality 2016-2020, Ministry of Interior Decentralisation and E-Government [Greek]


E. Banton, 2014, Fighting discrimination in sport: positive action v Rooney Rule, LawInSport, Jun 4, Internet [English]

J. Hand, B. Davis and P. Feast, 2012, Unification, simplification, amplification? An analysis of aspects of the British Equality Act 2010, Commonwealth Law Bulletin 38(3), 509-528 [English]

N. I. Idris, 2009, Rethinking the value of preferential treatment, UCL Juris. Rev. 2009, 15, 45-71 [English]

S. Khan and E. Nihill, 2016, Positive discrimination in the workplace: the case for gender equality, Irish Law Times, 34(14), 205-209 [English]

N. O'Connor, 2015, The impact of positive action on private law freedoms - proposed EU Directive on gender balance in the boardroom, Trinity College Law Review, 18, 128-153 [English]

T. M. Stowes, 2013, A call to action: challenging diversity initiatives in the wake of Fisher v University of Texas at Austin, International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, 13(4), 292-323 [English]

M. Tienda; S. Xinchun Niu, 2006, Capitalising on segregation, pretending neutrality: college admissions and the Texas top 10 per cent law, A.L.E.R. 2006, 8(2), 312-346 [English]

By Georgiana Caramihai