Turin Court of Appeal, Lanificio Tallia Gruppo v. Ceria Mary, 29 May 1964
Constitution of the Republic of Italy
Article 10, paragraph 1
The Italian legal system conforms to the generally recognised rules of international law.
Equal remuneration , Protection against discrimination in employment and occupation
Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
Discrimination on the grounds of sex/ Collective agreement providing lower pay for women/ Action brought by a woman employee/ Interpretation of the Constitution/ Reference to international law to strengthen a decision based on domestic law
A collective agreement provided difference in pay between the men and the women in a firm: the women were paid wages amounting to 92.8% of those paid to men, despite the fact that they had identical skills. According to the firm, this difference in pay was justified by the difference in productivity.
The Turin Court of Appeal found that this difference in pay was discriminatory because it was based on sex. It based its judgment mainly on Articles 36(1) and 37 of the Italian Constitution2 and relied on international law to add force to its case, stating the following:
“On the other hand, any general evaluation contrasting the yield of male workers with that of female workers would be inconsistent with the individual right of each female worker to receive pay that is equal to that paid to a male worker with identical tasks. As further confirmation of this interpretation it can be added:
a) that Article 119 of the Treaty establishing the EEC, which was ratified by the Italian Parliament by virtue of Act No. 1203 of 14 October 1957, states that “Equal pay without discrimination based on sex means: a) that pay for the same work at piece rates shall be calculated on the basis of the same unit of measurement; b) that pay for work at time rates shall be the same for the same job;
b) that, after laying down the principle of equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value, ILO Convention No. 100, which was adopted in Geneva on 29 June 1951 and approved by the Italian Parliament by virtue of Act No. 741 of 22 May 1956, adds that ‘the term equal remuneration for men and women workers for work of equal value refers to rates of remuneration established without discrimination based on sex.””
Having referred to international law to add force to its remedy, the Turin Court of Appeal ruled that the complainant was entitled to receive the same remuneration as that paid to male workers. The employer was ordered to pay her backpay for the entire period in which she had worked.
1 ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100); Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, 1957.
2 Article 36(1) of the Italian Constitution: “Workers have the right to a remuneration commensurate to the quantity and quality of their work and in all cases to an adequate remuneration ensuring them and their families a free and dignified existence.”
Article 37(1) of the Italian Constitution: “Working women have the same rights and are entitled to equal pay for equal work. Working conditions must allow women to fulfil their essential role in the family and ensure special appropriate protection for the mother and child.”