The general conference of the International Labor Organization was convened at Geneva by the governing body of the International Labor Office. The forty-second session of the International Labor Organization was convened on 4 June 1958. In this session, it was decided to adopt certain proposals with regard to discrimination in the field of employment and occupation. This was the fourth item on the agenda of the session and it was decided that these proposals take the form of an international Convention.
Thus the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958 was therefore adopted on June 25th, 1958.
The Convention urges all members to formulate a national policy for the prevention of discrimination in employment and occupation. This policy should be applied by means of legislative measures, collective agreements between representative employers’ and workers’ organizations or in any other manner consistent with national conditions and practice. The policy should also have regard to the following principles:
(a) the promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation is a matter of public concern;
(b) all persons should, without discrimination, enjoy equality of opportunity and treatment in respect of–
(i) access to vocational guidance and placement services;
(ii) access to training and employment of their own choice on the basis of individual suitability for such training or employment;
(iii) advancement in accordance with their individual character, experience, ability and diligence;
(iv) security of tenure of employment;
(v) remuneration for work of equal value;
(vi) conditions of work including hours of work, rest periods, annual holidays with pay, occupational safety and occupational health measures, as well as social security measures and welfare facilities and benefits provided in connection with employment;
(c) government agencies should apply non-discriminatory employment policies in all their activities;
(d) employers should not practise or countenance discrimination in engaging or training any person for employment, in advancing or retaining such person in employment, or in fixing terms and conditions of employment; nor should any person or organisation obstruct or interfere, either directly or indirectly, with employers in pursuing this principle;
(e) in collective negotiations and industrial relations the parties should respect the principle of equality of opportunity and treatment in employment and occupation, and should ensure that collective agreements contain no provisions of a discriminatory character in respect of access to, training for, advancement in or retention of employment or in respect of the terms and conditions of employment;
(f) employers’ and workers’ organisations should not practise or countenance discrimination in respect of admission, retention of membership or participation in their affairs.
The Convention also makes it necessary for members to-
(a) ensure application of the principles of non-discrimination–
(i) in respect of employment under the direct control of a national authority;
(ii) in the activities of vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services under the direction of a national authority;
(b) promote their observance, where practicable and necessary, in respect of other employment and other vocational guidance, vocational training and placement services by such methods as–
(i) encouraging state, provincial or local government departments or agencies and industries and undertakings operated under public ownership or control to ensure the application of the principles;
(ii) making eligibility for contracts involving the expenditure of public funds dependent on observance of the principles;
(iii) making eligibility for grants to training establishments and for a license to operate a private employment agency or a private vocational guidance office dependent on observance of the principles.
The Convention also contemplates the formation of advisory committees. The advisory committees composed of representatives of employers’ and workers’ organizations, should be established for the purpose of promoting application of the policy in all fields of public and private employment. The committees should in particular–
(a) take all practicable measures to foster public understanding and acceptance of the principles of non-discrimination;
(b) receive, examine and investigate complaints that the policy is not being observed and, if necessary by conciliation, to secure the correction of any practices regarded as in conflict with the policy; and
(c) consider further any complaints which cannot be effectively settled by conciliation and to render opinions or issue decisions concerning the manner in which discriminatory practices revealed should be corrected.