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The Danish Board of Equal Treatment in the spotlight

April 12th 2012

The Danish Board of Equal Treatment joined Equinet in 2009, the same year it started its activity as Denmark’s first quasi-judicial administrative board covering all grounds of discrimination.

In the following interview Ms. Susanne Fischer (pictured left), the Deputy Head of the Board’s Secretariat, will talk about the key projects and achievements of her organization, the main discrimination issues it deals with, and its role in pushing forward the non-discrimination agenda in the context of the Danish presidency of the EU.


1. Can you tell us a bit about the history and mandate of the Board of Equal Treatment?

2. What are the main discrimination issues that your equality body is currently dealing with?

3. What key projects is your organisation working on at the moment? What impact do you hope this work will have?

4. What role do you see for your equality body to support and contribute to the Danish Presidency of the EU (January - June 2012) in terms of pushing forward the equality and non-discrimination agenda?

5. What achievement at the Board of Equal Treatment are you most proud of?

6. Can you tell us a bit about an interesting, challenging case and how you solved it?

7. If you could name one Equinet activity as the most useful for your organisation, which would it be?

8. What inspired you to work in the field of equality and non-discrimination?

9. What is your motto?


1. Can you tell us a bit about the history and mandate of the Board of Equal Treatment?

The Board started functioning on 1 January 2009 and covers all grounds of discrimination that are included in the existing EU-directives. It is the first time that Denmark has an administrative board with quasi-judicial powers, covering all the grounds.

2. What are the main discrimination issues that your equality body is currently dealing with?

The Board receives a lot of complaints based on gender and the protection of parents during pregnancy, maternity and paternity leave. The Board has also seen a high increase in the number of cases related to age discrimination, especially concerning job applications and dismissals.

3. What key projects is your organisation working on at the moment? What impact do you hope this work will have?

The mandate is limited to the examination of concrete complaints received from a complainant. The main focus is therefore to ensure that the case is finalized within a maximum timeframe of nine months from the acknowledgment of the case.

The Board does however also continue to put focus on general awareness raising in relation to the work and mandate of the Board, and the existing anti-discrimination legislation.

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(logo) Danish Board of Equal Treatment  (Click to enlarge picture)

4. What role do you see for your equality body to support and contribute to the Danish Presidency of the EU (January - June 2012) in terms of pushing forward the equality and non-discrimination agenda?

The Board will continue to be in close dialogue with the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry for Gender Equality who are both involved in activities related to the Presidency.

We will also continue to disseminate decisions taken by the Board in our monthly newsletter, on our website and to the media, to ensure continued focus on the work of the Board.

5. What achievement at the Board of Equal Treatment are you most proud of?

The annual number of cases received has continued to increase during the three years the Board has existed. Even though the financial resources have remained at the same level since 2009, the Board has managed to process the cases within an acceptable time limit of about nine months.

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6. Can you tell us a bit about an interesting, challenging case and how you solved it?

The Board received a complaint related to participation in a pre-casting for a reality show. The participants were only allowed to enter the pre-casting if they had a permanent residence permit in Denmark. The complainant stated that this was a case of discrimination on the grounds of ethic origin.

Through our participation in EQUINET we learnt that France had taken a decision in a similar case that related to discrimination on the grounds of age. We contacted the French member of EQUINET who sent us the decision that they had taken. The French case served as an inspiration to the Board members. In the end, even though the French had found their case to be a case of discrimination, our Board finally agreed that the case was not covered by Danish legislation.

7. If you could name one Equinet activity as the most useful for your organisation, which would it be?

The Board benefitted greatly from its membership in EQUINET and its participation in the working group on Equality Law in Practice.

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8. What inspired you to work in the field of equality and non-discrimination?

I am very much inspired by the diverse and interesting legal issues that arise in my daily work. It has also been very rewarding for me to meet with foreign delegations from countries such as Turkey, Serbia, and Indonesia that were in the process of starting their own national equality bodies.

9. What is your motto?

Inspiration through collaboration!

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Thank you Ms. Fischer for your contribution.