Ouagadougou Labour Court, Savadogo Zonabo v. Grands Moulins du Burkina, 10 September 2002, No. 140

Constitution of Burkina Faso

Article 151

Treaties or agreements which have been duly ratified or adopted shall upon their publication have a higher authority than the laws, provided that each agreement or treaty is applied by the other party.

Burkina Faso
Protection against discrimination in employment and occupation
Role of International Law:
Direct resolution of a dispute on the basis of international law
Type of instruments used:

Ratified treaties1

Discrimination on the grounds of sex/ Company practice of placing employees promoted to a managerial grade in a higher category/ Legal action of a female employee who had been given only a change of grade/ Direct resolution of a dispute on the basis of international law

The applicant had been appointed to an executive post in a company where the unwritten practice was that anyone appointed to such a post was upgraded to a higher category. Several days after her appointment the management decided that that practice would be dispensed with and that the complainant would only be given a change of grade. However, several months later, one of her male colleagues who was appointed to an executive post was upgraded to a higher category as had previously been the customary practice. The company claimed that the complainant’s change of grade had brought her a salary that was higher than the salary she would have received if the former practice had been followed.

The Ouagadougou Labour Court found that that argument did not hold and applied ILO Conventions No. 100 concerning Equal Remuneration and No. 111 concerning Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) directly:

“Whereas Convention No. 100, which has been ratified by Burkina Faso, prohibits all forms of discrimination in remuneration between men and women; Whereas in the present case Ms Savadogo Zonabo [the complainant] has been the victim of discrimination in the treatment of her remuneration by les Grands Moulins du Burkina [the company] due to the fact that she is the first woman to hold such an executive post; (...) Whereas, by refusing to upgrade Ms Zonabo (…) despite the fact that she met all of the upgrading conditions, the company, les Grands Moulins du Burkina, is at odds with Conventions No. 100 and 111.”

On the basis of ILO Conventions Nos. 100 and 111 the Ouagadougou Labour Court ordered the company to reinstate the applicant in her rights by upgrading her to the category requested and to pay the difference in salary plus compensation and damages.

1 ILO Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100); ILO Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 (No. 111).

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