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An initiative of the European Union Diversity at work Everyone has rights.

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Presentation on theme: "An initiative of the European Union Diversity at work Everyone has rights."— Presentation transcript:

1 An initiative of the European Union Diversity at work Everyone has rights

2 An initiative of the European Union 2 SUMMARY What is discrimination? What is unfavourable treatment? Do you know the law? What the law says Disability and the law How do you recognise discrimination? Making a complaint The burden of proof What do you think? What can you do? Where can you go?

3 An initiative of the European Union 3 What is discrimination? Discrimination is treating somebody unfavourably because of: –Their racial or ethnic origin –Their age –A disability –Their religion or other beliefs –Their sexual orientation. If a job ad says No disabled people need apply or No blacks, that is obviously direct discrimination. But a ban on wearing hats at work could be indirect discrimination against some religions. Unless its for safety reasons, for instance.

4 An initiative of the European Union 4 What is unfavourable treatment? At work, treatment amounting to discrimination may involve: –Unjustly denying somebody a job –Unjustly denying somebody promotion or a job transfer –Harassment – intimidating a person, being hostile to them, or treating them in a degrading or humiliating way just because they are seen as different. Harassment isnt necessarily spectacular. Constant degrading jokes or gossip about somebody can be demeaning. –Victimisation - treating someone badly or differently for making a complaint about discrimination or supporting a colleague who has made a complaint.

5 An initiative of the European Union 5 Do you know the law? –The EUs Member States have unanimously empowered it to take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. –European directives have become part of national law in order to protect every employee in the EU against discrimination at work. –But according to a recent survey, only one-third of people in Europe know that they are protected by EU anti-discrimination law. –And yet, the same survey found that 15% of respondents have suffered discrimination or harassment in last 12 months and 29% have witnessed discrimination. –Two EU directives have helped to shape anti-discrimination law…

6 An initiative of the European Union 6 What the law says The Racial Equality Directive –insists on equal treatment regardless of racial or ethnic origin –protects against discrimination in employment, training, education, social security, healthcare and access to goods and services –defines discrimination, harassment and victimisation –gives victims the right to make a complaint through the courts or administrations, and provides penalties for those who discriminate –shares the burden of proof between both sides in a case –provides for an organisation in each EU country to promote equal treatment and give independent help to race discrimination victims.

7 An initiative of the European Union 7 What the law says The Employment Equality Directive –insists on equal treatment in employment and training regardless of religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation or age –defines discrimination, rights of legal redress and the sharing of the burden of proof in the same way as the Racial Equality Directive –requires employers to take reasonable steps to cater for the needs of a person with a disability who is qualified to do a job –allows for limited exceptions to the principle of equal treatment, for example in religious organisations or for special schemes to promote employment of older or younger workers.

8 An initiative of the European Union 8 Disability and the law –People with a disability are not necessarily less able to work. They may possess other skills and abilities that are very useful. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. –But they do often need some adaptation of their workplaces. That is why accommodating their needs is compulsory under the Employment Equality Directive. –Employers throughout the EU are required to take whatever steps are reasonable to enable people with disabilities to work, advance in their careers and participate in training, as long as this does not involve excessive financial and other costs.

9 An initiative of the European Union 9 How do you recognise discrimination? Open discrimination: –Particular ethnic groups are given certain tasks but not others. –People with disabilities are automatically rejected without trying to make adjustments for their needs. –Anyone who is different (for example, because of their religion or sexual orientation) is denied their rights or even a job in the first place. And certain rules or ways of doing things serve to exclude particular groups of people. –Particular groups are stereotyped. The expectation is created that they will perform poorly. This atmosphere may negatively affect their work abilities.

10 An initiative of the European Union 10 How do you recognise discrimination? Disguised discrimination: –Spreading false rumours that serve to discredit another employee. –Making derogatory or offensive remarks about work colleagues. –Sexual innuendo about a colleague in his or her presence. –Making jokes about particular groups of people - for example, religious groups, gays and lesbians, or an ethnic group. –Engaging in physical abuse – slapping, hitting etc. – or threatening violence. –Making life difficult for someone who complains about the way they are being treated or who supports the victim.

11 An initiative of the European Union 11 Making a complaint Each EU country decides whether complaints are to be handled by: –the criminal justice system –the civil courts –administrative arrangements such as tribunals –conciliation, through which cases of unfair treatment can be discussed and sorted out voluntarily. Governments must ensure that people bringing complaints have the right to be supported and represented by their trade union or by specialist associations or organisations.

12 An initiative of the European Union 12 The burden of proof Sharing the burden of proof means in practice that: –The person making the complaint must first show that the facts are consistent with discrimination, so that there is a case to answer. For example, a case could be a company where all employees from a particular ethnic group receive salaries that are lower than those from other groups. –The person accused of discrimination then has to demonstrate that they did not act unfairly and that there was a legitimate reason for what they did. For example, the company could respond that employees from this particular ethnic group work in lower skilled jobs or work part-time and therefore earn less than their colleagues.

13 An initiative of the European Union 13 The burden of proof So, in this phase it is up to the accused person to prove that they did not behave in a discriminatory way. This is because somebody who has been discriminated against will usually not be able to provide conclusive proof.

14 An initiative of the European Union 14 What do you think? A translation company insists that all those applying for jobs as translators must have driving licences, as there is an occasional need to deliver or collect work from clients. Is this discrimination? Answer: Yes, as this requirement would bar some people with disabilities from applying. Since driving is not a core requirement for doing the job, the company is effectively discriminating against people with disabilities - unless it can show that there is an objective and justifiable reason for the ban.

15 An initiative of the European Union 15 What do you think? A man in his 60s works with a team of colleagues in their 20s and 30s. The team, including the manager, often go out socialising but dont ask the older man along. He finds out that they discuss work issues during these outings, and he feels left out. Is this discrimination? Answer: Yes, as the man is being unfairly excluded from discussions about work because of his age. The manager should find other opportunities to discuss work issues with the whole team, during working hours.

16 An initiative of the European Union 16 What do you think? A woman applies for a job with a catering firm. She is turned down, on the grounds that the company is only hiring people who have a formal catering qualification. Afterwards, she finds out that a friend who has no qualifications but has a different skin colour, and was interviewed after her, has been offered the job. Is this discrimination? Answer: Probably yes. Discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin is illegal throughout the EU, including in employment. The circumstances suggest there is a case to answer here. It would be up to the employer to prove otherwise.

17 An initiative of the European Union 17 What do you think? A young woman works for an IT company. She takes on more and more responsibility but her manager refuses to promote her, as he says she is too young and would not command the respect of other members of the team. Is this discrimination? Answer: Yes, because he has clearly stated that her age is the reason for refusing her promotion. Discrimination at work on the grounds of age is illegal throughout the EU. If the woman is able to take on more responsibility, she should be promoted regardless of her age.

18 An initiative of the European Union 18 What do you think? A man works in a bar. His colleagues perceive him as being gay and constantly make remarks and jokes about his sexual preferences. Is this discrimination? Answer: Yes. Making jokes and derogatory comments at work about somebodys sexual orientation is unfair and constitutes harassment. This would create an atmosphere in which the man would find it difficult to work effectively, and might even push him into resigning from his job. Discrimination on the grounds of somebodys sexual orientation is illegal throughout the EU, under the Employment Equality Directive.

19 An initiative of the European Union 19 What can you do? Think about your own behaviour and attitudes: –Do you join in discriminatory behaviour, even if you disapprove? –Do you help create a climate of respect by your own efforts? –Do you tell other people at work why you disapprove of discrimination or harassment? –Are you willing to learn about other cultures and perspectives?

20 An initiative of the European Union 20 What can you do? Support victims and help them deal with the problem: –Help them seek legal or other advice. –Help them to confront the perpetrators. –Help them raise the issue with the employer. –Provide emotional support – discrimination is stressful for the victim.

21 An initiative of the European Union 21 What can you do? Ask for training to develop your own knowledge about: –How to recognise discrimination. –What the law says. –What is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. –How to deal with examples of discrimination and harassment. Help the management of your workplace to: –Establish non-discrimination policies and practices. –Provide a model of good leadership. –Deal with discrimination when it occurs. –Establish a transparent complaints process.

22 An initiative of the European Union 22 Where can you go? For help and advice contact your national equality body: UK Equality and Human Rights Commission Helplines: England Scotland Wales Equality Commission for Northern Ireland Enquiry line: Ireland Irish Equality Authority Helpline: Malta National Commission for the Promotion of Equality Tel:

23 An initiative of the European Union 23 Where can you go? For Diversity. Against Discrimination. EU information campaign

24 This presentation has been produced as part of the EU-wide For Diversity. Against Discrimination. information campaign. Organised by the European Commission's Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the campaign aims to raise awareness of discrimination and the EU laws which exist to combat it, and to promote the benefits of diversity. © European Commission/JPH Woodland; Getty Images; corbis; van beek images; iStockphoto


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