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Joint report to the German Bundestag shows discrimination risks in employment services

June 30th 2017

There are, in some cases, serious discrimination risks in the employment placement in Germany. This can be seen in the joint report to the German Bundestag, which was presented by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (FADA) on Thursday, together with the Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration, and the Federal Government Commissioner for the Disability of People with Disabilities.

Discrepancies in the employment relationship can have individual causes, such as, for example, openly discriminatory attitudes by specialist personnel. However, discrimination risks in procedural processes are far more fundamental. These can lead to people not being adequately supported in their search for employment - and in the worst case - they will remain permanent job-seekers.

The Anti-Discrimination Agency and the two Commissioners regard, for example, the problem-solving system used by employment agencies and job centres as problematic. In their placement efforts, Specialists often exclude job seekers, which at first sight appear to them as labourers - for example, single-parents or disabled people.

Information and counseling deficits as well as barriers in access to services of employment agencies and job centers can also constitute institutional discrimination risks. This includes lack of accessibility (eg. no offers in easy to read language) or the limited use of interpreting services for immigrants.

Christine Lueders, Verena Bentele, Aydan Özoğuz present Antidiscrimination Report
Christine Lueders, Verena Bentele, Aydan Özoğuz present Antidiscrimination Report

"Many people are dependent on support when they move into employment. Job agencies and job centres do a good job here. But in some places it could be even better. In particular, disadvantages in procedural sequences can have fatal consequences for those concerned. We are committed to the fact that job centres and employment agencies become even better at educating their employees in order to avoid discrimination. There should also be independent Ombudspersons to help those affected, " said Christine Lüders, Head of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency.

State Minister Aydan Özoğuz, Commissioner of the Federal Government for Migration, Refugees and Integration, said: "Participation in working life is a key factor for social inclusion and therefore also for integration. Discrimination in working life therefore has a significant influence on social and community participation. We know from many studies that applicants with foreign roots, especially with a foreign name, have a harder time getting into the labour market - even with equal or better qualifications. The employment services have a key role to play. They must be well informed of applicants’ family immigration background, make appropriate offers and, for example, pave the way for training or work through the provision of assisted training or, where necessary, recognition of training or previous professional practice. Employers also need to reach out for information and contacts when they reach their own limits. "

Verena Bentele, Federal Government Commissioner for the Disability of People with Disabilities, stressed: "In the first part of the report, other forms of discrimination are also being highlighted, in addition to the focus on employment, which still needs to be improved in order to avoid discrimination. Most complaints relate to the private sector and show that there are still many barriers in the private sector for people with disabilities. Therefore, I urgently advise to expand the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) according to the Equalization of Equalization Act (BGG). The denial of reasonable precautions by shops, restaurants and doctors’ practices must be included as a form of discrimination in the AGG. "

From the point of view of the Anti-Discrimination Agency and the two Commissioners, the majority of the institutional discrimination risks can be countered effectively and at a reasonable cost. In the field of job placement, they ask, inter alia, to examine and, if necessary, adjust the key figure control with regard to the existing discrimination risks. Customer reaction management in employment agencies and job centres should be supplemented by independent Ombudspersons, to which customers can also turn in the case of discrimination. In addition, employment agencies and job centres should provide more information on procedural rights, such as access to files or possible additional applications, and the right to accessibility. Training management should be more focused on raising awareness of discrimination.

In a further, as a general part of the report, the Anti-Discrimination Agency and the two Commissioners also draw up a balance sheet on discrimination, on case-law and on typical cases in the past four years.

For the report, consultations were received from 2013 to 2016 at the Anti-Discrimination Agency and the designated agents, as well as other governmental and non-governmental anti-discrimination authorities. The report is also based on the results of the major survey "Discrimination Experiences in Germany", which were evaluated by the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM). In this comprehensive overview, the Anti-Discrimination Agency has systematically set out where discrimination occurs in Germany and which particular groups of people are particularly affected. In addition, the case law was analyzed at national and European level. The Anti-Discrimination Agency has a joint statutory mandate to submit a report to the Parliament every four years, together with the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Integration and Refugees, the Commissioner for Disability Affairs, the Commissioner for Resettlement Questions and National Minorities, as well as the German Federal Commissioner on discrimination in the army and to make recommendations on their elimination and avoidance.

Read the Report (in German) here.
Press Handout: Central Results of the Third Joint Report