Business and human rights

1. What kind of judicial protection do I have in your country as a victim of business-related human rights violations? Does this protection include compensation?

In accordance with Article 8 of Law 4443/2016, «1. In the case of failure to comply with the principle of equal treatment in the context of administrative action, in addition to judicial protection, injured parties are also provided protection under Articles 24 to 27 of the Code of Administrative Procedure (Law 2690/1999, Series I, No 45). 2. The termination of the relationship in the context of which the violation was committed does not rule out protection from the violation of the principle of equal treatment. 3. Legal entities, associations or organisations, including social partners and trade unions, which aim – inter alia – to ensure compliance with the principle of equal treatment irrespective of race, colour, national or ethnic origin, descent, religious or other convictions, disability or chronic illness, age, family or social status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender characteristics, may represent injured parties before the courts and before any administrative authority or body, provided that the party concerned has previously given consent by means of a notarial document, where required, or a private document, with authentication of the signature affixed thereto’.

Furthermore, pursuant to Article 11 entitled ‘Penalties’ of the same law, «1. Any person who, when selling goods or providing services, violates the prohibition under this law of discrimination based on race, colour, national or ethnic origin, descent, religious or other convictions, disability or chronic illness, age, family or social status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender characteristics, is punished by a term of imprisonment between six (6) months and three (3) years and a fine between one thousand (1 000) and five thousand (5 000) euros. The acts referred to in this paragraph are prosecuted ex officio. 2. Any discrimination – in contravention of the provisions of this Part – based on race, colour, national or ethnic origin, descent, religious or other convictions, disability or chronic illness, age, family or social status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender characteristics, by a person acting as an employer at any stage of access to labour and employment, upon the entry into or refusal to enter into an employment relationship, or during the term, validity, progress or termination thereof, constitutes a violation of labour law, in which case the Greek Labour Inspectorate (SEPE) imposes administrative penalties under Article 24 of Law 3996/2011 (Series I, No 170)’.

Lastly, in the case of violation of the principle of equal treatment based on race, colour, national or ethnic origin, descent, religious or other convictions, disability or chronic illness, age, family or social status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender characteristics, the opposing party or administrative authority bears the burden of proving to the court that there were no circumstances constituting a violation of this principle. The injured party is also protected against dismissal or adverse treatment in general in reaction to a complaint or request for legal protection.

2. Do you have specific rules for gross human rights violations? Do these rules apply to environmental crimes or severe labour exploitation?

Based on Article 78(i) of Law 4052/2012 ‘particularly exploitative working conditions are working conditions, including those resulting from gender-based or other discrimination, where there is a striking disproportion compared with the terms of employment of legally employed workers, and which, for example, affects workers’ health and safety, and which offends against human dignity’. In accordance with Article 89(3), ‘in the case of illegal employment of an unaccompanied minor who is a third-country national, the competent public prosecution service takes all necessary steps to determine their identity and nationality, and to establish if they are unaccompanied. It makes every possible effort to promptly locate their family and immediately takes the necessary measures to ensure their legal representation and, if required, their representation in criminal proceedings. The competent public prosecutor for minors or, where there is none, the competent public prosecutor at the Court of First Instance may – if the minor’s family has not been located or if the public prosecutor finds that under the current circumstances repatriation does not serve the minor’s interests – order that every appropriate measure be taken to ensure protection of the minor until a decision is issued by the court, to which the public prosecutor must submit a request within thirty days, on the appointment of a guardian, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1532, 1534 and 1592 of the Civil Code. 4. Suitable living conditions are afforded to these persons if they lack adequate resources and if it is deemed necessary by the competent public prosecutor at the Court of First Instance. 5. The competent public prosecution services, judicial authorities and police authorities have the responsibility, as a matter of priority, to protect and safeguard the aforementioned victims, in accordance with the relevant provisions, to provide translation and interpreting services to these persons if they do not speak Greek, to inform them of their legal rights and of the services available to them, and of any necessary legal aid available to them’.

3. I am a victim of a human rights violation resulting from activities of a European transnational corporation which occurred outside the European Union. Do I have access to the courts in your country if I am not an EU-citizen or I don’t live in the EU? What are the requirements for me to claim violation of my rights? Where can I find any additional information?

This possibility is not available.

4. Can Ombudsman Institutions, equality bodies or national human rights institutions support victims of business-related human rights violations committed by European transnational corporations outside the European Union? Can these bodies investigate my case if I am not an EU-citizen or I don't live in the EU? Are there other public services (such as labour or environmental inspectorates) in your country that can investigate my case? Where can I find information about my rights?

This possibility is not available.

5. Does your country impose obligations on European transnational corporations to establish complaint mechanisms or mediation services for violations resulting from their business activities? Do these obligations apply also to violations that occurred outside the European Union? Who is in charge of monitoring of these activities in your country? Are there public reports available providing information on the functioning of the system?

Greece does not impose obligations on European transnational corporations to establish complaint mechanisms or mediation services for violations resulting from their business activities.

6. Do I have specific rights if I am a vulnerable victim seeking remedy for human rights violations where businesses are involved? Can I have access to legal aid and under which conditions? Which costs will be covered by the legal aid? Do I have access to legal aid under the same conditions if I am not an EU-citizen or I don't live in the EU?

Based on Article 78(i) of Law 4052/2012 ‘particularly exploitative working conditions are working conditions, including those resulting from gender-based or other discrimination, where there is a striking disproportion compared with the terms of employment of legally employed workers, and which, for example, affects workers’ health and safety, and which offends against human dignity’. In accordance with Article 89(3), ‘in the case of illegal employment of an unaccompanied minor who is a third-country national, the competent public prosecution service takes all necessary steps to determine their identity and nationality, and to establish if they are unaccompanied. It makes every possible effort to promptly locate their family and immediately takes the necessary measures to ensure their legal representation and, if required, their representation in criminal proceedings. The competent public prosecutor for minors or, where there is none, the competent public prosecutor at the Court of First Instance, may – if the minor’s family has not been located or if the public prosecutor finds that under the current circumstances repatriation does not serve the minor’s interests – order that every appropriate measure be taken to ensure protection of the minor until a decision is issued by the court, to which the public prosecutor must submit a request within thirty days, on the appointment of a guardian, in accordance with the provisions of Articles 1532, 1534 and 1592 of the Civil Code. 4. Suitable living conditions are afforded to these persons if they lack adequate resources and if it is deemed necessary by the competent first instance public prosecutor. 5. The competent public prosecution services, judicial authorities and police authorities have the responsibility, as a matter of priority, to protect and safeguard the aforementioned victims, in accordance with the relevant provisions, to provide translation and interpreting services to these persons if they do not speak Greek, to inform them of their legal rights and of the services available to them, and of any necessary legal aid available to them’.

The provisions of Law 3226/2004 allow for legal aid to be made available to low-income citizens of EU Member States, as well as to low-income third-country nationals and stateless persons if they are legally domiciled or habitually resident in the EU. Legal aid cannot be provided to third-country nationals and stateless persons if they are not legally domiciled or habitually resident in the EU.

The provision of legal aid means exemption from the obligation to pay part or all of the expenses for the proceedings and, if specifically requested, the appointment of a lawyer, notary and bailiff, under orders to defend the beneficiary, represent them in court and provide them with the assistance needed in order for the necessary actions to be carried out.

Last update: 20/08/2020

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