Allowing NGOs to Bring Litigation on Behalf of Victims
last updated November 1, 2003

Some national laws, e.g. Article 22 of Romania's Ordinance 137/2000 (as amended by Ordinance 48/2002) and Article 99 of Bulgaria's Prevention of Discrimination Law, provide non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with locus standi or standing to bring lawsuits on behalf of victims of sex discrimination, including victims of sexual harassment. In the case of Bulgaria, NGOs have standing to bring lawsuits only when group rights are affected by discrimination. In Romania, NGOs have standing to bring lawsuits on behalf of groups and, with their permission, on behalf of individual victims.

In the 2002 amendment of the Equal Treatment Directive, the European Union Council and Parliament endorsed this possibility for victims of sex discrimination in EU Member States, including victims of sexual harassment. The directive requires EU Member States to allow interested third parties to engage, "either on behalf of or in support of [discrimination] complainants, with his or her approval, in any judicial and/or administrative procedure provided for the enforcement of obligations under [the] Directive." This directive is part of the EU law and policy with which the countries that will be acceding to the EU in the next few years must comply. From Directive (2002/73/EC) amending Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions (Article 6(3) of the Directive 76/207/EEC as amended).