My coworkers keep making fun of me because I'm a lesbian, is it discrimination?
No, it's actually harassment. Discrimination is defined as a different and unfavorable treatment, while harassment is an undesirable behavior. When one is discriminated against, they are treated less favorably than what another person would be in the same circumstances. When one is harassed, they suffer undesirable behavior meant to violate their dignity and to create an intimidatory, hostile, degrading, humiliating or insulting climate.
The mayor of my municipality would like to forbid camping on the entire territory because twice or three times a year families, possibly of Romany ethnicity, stop with trailers in a parking lot of the industrial area. Is this a discriminatory act against these families?
Yes, it could be an indirect discrimination based on ethnicity or race. The Italian legislation combats both direct acts of discrimination and indirect ones. An act of discrimination is indirect when a proposal or act that seems neutral could actually result in particular disadvantage for certain people.
This morning I went into a cafe with my daughter, the barista asked us to get out, refusing to serve us, insisting that my daughter's wheelchair made the other patrons flee. Is it discrimination?
Yes, it is an act of discrimination against your daughter. Acts of discrimination are to be considered direct when, like in your case, one is treated less favorably than what another person in their same circumstances would be. In your case, the barista has treated your daughter less favorably because she's disabled. Also, the law says that retail and catering business are obliged to serve the patrons.
I'm Neapolitan, I've lived in Mantova for the last 30 years and still I get insulted with the word “terrone” (an Italian derogatory word used on people from Southern Italy. It's kind of on the same level as a racial slur). Is it to be considered harassment?
Yes, it is harassment, but the Italian legislation doesn't yet acknowledge either harassment or discrimination based on territory. Only the sport legislation punishes this kind of harassment. That said, some Judges have sentenced this behavior using the law 205/1993 and expanding the ethnic-racial sphere to contain harassment like the one you suffered.
What's the relevant civil legislation regarding the contrast to discrimination and harassment?
The Italian legislation currently punishes harassment and discrimination in all spheres if based on ethnicity, race, nationality and skin color, ancestry, faith and religion (215/2003), on disability (67/2006) and gender (198/2006).
while harassment and discrimination based on age, sexual and romantic orientation, and personal beliefs are punished only in the work sphere (216/2003).
What's the relevant criminal legislation regarding the contrast to discrimination and harassment?
The law 654/1975 currently punishes whoever encourages or commits acts of discrimination or violence based on race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. Are also punished those who provoke violence and the formation of and participation to organizations, associations, groups or movements which objective is also the encouragement of violence and discrimination are forbidden.
Can a public entity like the Region or the Municipality be accused of discrimination?
Yes, in such cases we talk about institutional discrimination, “the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture or ethnic origin.” Macpherson 1999.
On Facebook I read a post that talked about “nomad camps” and ended with the phrase “we should reopen the ovens for the Romanies”, is it hate speech?
Yes, it's speech that encourages hate towards people belonging to the Romany linguistic minority.
Are to be considered hate speech all those expressions that spread, encourage, promote or justify hate and intolerance against a person, a minority or a group and that could provoke violent reactions. The law punishes this crime with incarceration up to a year and six months or with a fine up to 6 thousand euros.
When I was in middle school, one of my classmates, Paolo, was subjected to insults, spits and once three of my other classmates took him and put him in the trash can. Is it bullying?
Yes, it is bullying. What your classmates did are repeated behaviors, both physical, verbal and/or not verbal, meant to violate Paolo's dignity and to create for him an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive climate.
Italy doesn't have a legislation set to adequately punish these behaviors. In any and all cases of bullying, and even in cases of singular harassment and discrimination, it's fundamental the role of the witnesses, that should always intervene to support and stand with the victim and should always call for an adult to defuse the situation.
What happens when I report to the Articolo 3 Anti-discrimination Desk?
Your report gets analyzed inside a week's time. If we think you're not a victim of discrimination, we will point you towards the service who can help you best with your problem. Meanwhile, if we think that you are a victim of an alleged act of discrimination or harassment we officially open a case and we will call you to expound upon what happened and to gather any useful information. At the same time, we verify the possibility to establish a contact with the person responsible of the discrimination in hopes to better define the event.
First, the desk, with your consent, can verify if the case could be resolved with a conciliatory action between you and the perpetrator in order to eliminate the discrimination.
If the informal resolution is impossible, we will support you in the event you will pursue legal action, even connecting you to one of the legal firms we habitually work with.
If you want to stay anonymous, the Desk will send a letter to the perpetrator to recommend they follow the normative about the principle of fair behavior.
In a few peculiar cases, the Articolo 3 directive Council can pursue legal action in a direct and autonomous way.
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