Seeking affirmative action

  • Find it in the Law:
    Law on Protection from Discrimination
  • Who is responsible:
    Check with the employer and his/her respective bodies to find the proper address to address complaints. Affirmative action measures should usually be implemented and steered by human resource offices, but as a policy they should be instituted by the highest decision- making bodies.
  • Who can help me:
    In case the employer is not interested in instituting or promoting affirmative action measures, you may seek help from professional associations or NGOs to make the issue of under representation more visible and increase public pressure on firms and other relevant institutions.

Let’s say that you belong to a social group or identity which is underrepresented in the public institution, firm or other institution or organization you work for. For example, you are a woman and women represent only 10% of employees in your firm, even though they are 50% of the able-bodied workforce and have no objective obstacle to work in that particular sector. You ask the employer to undertake affirmative action measures stipulated in the Law on Protection from Discrimination when hiring new employees.

Affirmative Action measures are intended to compensate or prevent unfavorable treatment of groups or persons based on identity. By undertaking such measures the firm can make sure that members of that group in a way get “extra points” in future recruitment processes solely due to the fact that belong to the underrepresented group. The law notes that such measures may only be taken if, let’s say, two candidates have equal professional qualities, in which case the employer may choose the identity criteria to make the final choice. For example, the employer can use affirmative action to choose a woman only in a race between equally qualified women over a man. Simply hiring someone because she is a woman is not the purpose of affirmative action, as this may create the basis for other forms of discrimination.


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