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Freedom to choose an occupation and right to engage in work

Know your rights

Everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation. Every citizen of the European Union has the freedom to seek employment, to work, to exercise the right of establishment and to provide services in any EU country.

Nationals of non-EU countries who are authorised to work in the territories of an EU country are entitled to working conditions equivalent to those of citizens of the EU.

This right is enshrined in article 15 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

What to do if your rights have been breached

The authorities of EU countries are bound to comply with the Charter of Fundamental Rights only when implementing EU law. Fundamental rights are protected by your country's constitution.

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What the European Union is doing to protect your rights 


Directive 2006/54/EC equal treatment for men and women in employment and occupation, including social security schemes.

Directive 2000/43/EC against discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin.

Directive 2010/41/EU equal treatment for men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity.

Directive 2000/78/EC against discrimination at work on grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.

Related rights

Chapter 2 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is on freedoms. This chapter also contains the following rights