Around half a million Czechs are currently unemployed and with roughly 50 000 vacancies, it is clear that only one in ten applicants will succeed in finding a new job. The situation is all the more difficult for people over fifty, who often look for a job in vain before reaching retirement age. According to Nikola Šimandlová of the NGO Alternativa 50+, which has just launched a new project against ageism, discriminating people on the basis of age is becoming increasingly common:
The Constitutional Court has ruled in favour of a man who has accused the Office of the Government of age discrimination. The man claims that he and five other employees over 50 had been sacked on the grounds of a planned re-organization under which their posts were to have been scrapped, but a few months later these positions were all filled by young people under 28 years of age. Several court verdicts went in favour of the Office of the Government until the man filed a complaint with the Constitutional court, which overturned the earlier verdicts in a ruling that is seen as an important precedent. The case will now go back to a lower court to be reviewed.
The results of a study conducted by Masaryk University in Brno suggest that age is the most frequent cause of discrimination in the Czech Republic, with almost one-fifth of respondents aged between 18 and 80 saying they had personally experienced it at some point in their lives. One-tenth of respondents said they had experienced gender discrimination, and six percent said they had been discriminated against for health reasons. The Czech Republic still lacks an anti-discrimination law, though the country should have passed it upon its entry to the EU in 2004. President Vaclav Klaus recently vetoed an anti-discrimination bill on the grounds that other laws guaranteed adequate protection against all forms of discrimination.