Public and private language rules in horizontal labour relationships : barriers and tools for the implementation of human rights

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Djackova, Svetlana
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Access to the labour market of individuals is intimately linked to language rules set by the state and employers while linguistic barriers deepen disadvantages of minorities in the labour market. However, the interrelationship between language rules and the protection of the individual against violations of the related human rights on the horizontal level of employment remains largely an unexplored area in international law while the practices of states in this area are also not assessed in any great detail. The subject of this paper is the relationship between public and private language rules, such as language proficiency requirements, rules requiring the use of a certain language at work, or the prohibition of the use of languages, in horizontal labour relationships and human rights. The study attempts to assess the extent to which international law protects individuals from infringements of human rights deriving from such rules. The study includes the analysis of international law standards and provides examples of language rules in France, Latvia, Slovakia and Finland. The analysis reveals that language rules determine the fulfillment of several individual human rights, which the state has an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill. The examined human rights have an impact on horizontal labour relationships. However, there is a rather fragmented, and to a large extent, not assessed scope of protection in this area. The study also discusses the link between language rules and human development and the role of nationalism in the adoption of such rules.
Second semester University: Abo Akademi University
aliens, Europe, human rights, labour market, language, linguistic minorities, migrant workers