Like Woman, Like Man

The Constitutional Court has ruled that if a man is a sole breadwinner for a family with several children including at least one younger than three years old, he cannot be fired.

The case concerned article 261 of the Labour Code of Russia. According to this norm, women with children under the age of three cannot be dismissed from work without their consent. The Constitutional Court has ruled that this protection should be extended to men.

The court's decisions have the force of law and from now on men with young children are safe.

Although the ruling has a lot of talk about family protection, it hinges on the idea of gender discrimination rather than on the ideals of the social state. Applied mechanically, the concept of sex equality has become a powerful force. In fact, the Constitutional Court had no choice: even if it decided otherwise, the European Court of Human Rights would have almost certainly supported the father.

We, therefore, must conclude that the ruling will apply in a much wider context than stated. A prudent employer should assume that any favour given to women must also include men.

To what extent this approach protects young fathers and to what extent it creates additional difficulties for them in finding employment is a debatable issue. RussianLawOnline.Com believes that the latter is more likely.