Equal treatment irrespective of ethnicity, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation in employment and occupation (Ombud for GlBG part 2)

  1. Why contact us
  2. Tasks of the Ombud for Equal Treatment irrespective of Ethnicity, Religion or Belief, Age or Sexual Orientation in Employment and Occupation
  3. Examples of advisory services
  4. Telephone advisory service and contact details

Why contact us

Do you feel harassed or discriminated against in employment and occupation or in accessing the labour market of the private sector on grounds of

  • your ethnicity,
  • your religion or belief,
  • your age (regardless whether you are old or young) or
  • your sexual orientation?

If this is the case, the Ombud for Equal Treatment irrespective of Ethnicity, Religion or Belief, Age or Sexual Orientation in Employment and Occupation is the right point of contact for you.

We are competent for all of Austria and provide information, advice and support in cases of discrimination or harassment on the aforementioned grounds in the following areas:

  • vocational training and career counselling
  • establishing and terminating employment relationships
  • pay
  • fringe benefits (e.g. loyalty bonuses, canteens)
  • in-service (further) training
  • promotion
  • other working conditions
  • membership in an employee or employer organisation

Tasks of the Ombud for Equal Treatment irrespective of Ethnicity, Religion or Belief, Age or Sexual Orientation in Employment and Occupation

Which tasks do we have?

The Ombud for Equal Treatment irrespective of Ethnicity, Religion or Belief, Age or Sexual Orientation in Employment and Occupation has the following tasks:

  • to provide advice, information and support to persons affected
  • to obtain comments and information from the employer’s side
  • to negotiate out-of-court settlement
  • to initiate proceedings before the Equal Treatment Commission on request of the person discriminated against
  • to prepare comments and recommendations on specific equal treatment issues
  • to provide information and to exchange experience in the framework of workshops, lectures, training programmes, panel discussions, etc.

In which way are advisory services provided?

Our advisory services are free of charge and confidential. We provide basic information by telephone, advise you in personal meetings and support you in finding possible solutions. On your request, we contact the employer, obtain information from the works council or other persons involved and offer our assistance in possible attempts to settle the conflict.

Finally, we can submit a request on your behalf to the Equal Treatment Commission to examine whether the principle of equal treatment was violated. Our services do not include representation in legal proceedings and/or support in claiming compensation.

In which cases can we intervene?

We are competent for all of Austria and support you when you feel harassed or discriminated against on grounds of your ethnicity, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation in connection with a private-sector employment relationship. Anti-discrimination protection comprises particularly the following areas:

  • vocational training and career counselling
  • establishing and terminating employment relationships
  • pay
  • fringe benefits (e.g. loyalty bonuses, canteens)
  • in-service (further) training
  • promotion
  • other working conditions
  • membership in an employee or employer organisation

Do not hesitate to contact us if have queries, need further information or wish to arrange for a personal meeting: click on contact.

Examples of advisory services

Most cases brought before the Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment deal with discrimination on grounds of ethnicity and of age, followed by grounds of religion and sexual orientation. The principle of equal treatment is violated most frequently when employment relationships are established and terminated. Harassment at work is also a very common problem.

Example 1: Dismissal after harassment on grounds of ethnicity

A man of African origin worked as a dishwasher in a renowned enterprise of the restaurant sector for 16 years. After the enterprise was taken over by a new owner, several unpleasant incidents occurred. The man had the impression that they were provoked to make him quit his job, which would also entail a loss of his entitlement to severance pay. The boss instructed for example a colleague of the man not to carry out a specific task himself but “to tell the negro to do it”. In the counselling meeting, the Ombud offered the man to send a letter of intervention to the employer, pointing out that harassment on grounds of ethnicity was inadmissible. Before the letter could be sent to the employer, the man was dismissed by the employer. The man decided to assert possible claims under labour law with the support of the Chamber of Labour and not to pursue his complaint about harassment any further.

Example 2: Discrimination in the context of salary classification due to older age

A 56-year-old woman contacted the Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment as she felt discriminated against on grounds of her age by her employer due to job classification. With the support of her immediate supervisor, she had requested the department of personnel to promote her to a higher pay grade level some time ago because her predecessor had also been ranked in the higher pay grade. Her request was denied, explaining that she was not entitled to it and that the enterprise adhered to the principle of not reclassifying the jobs of employees “close to retirement”. The Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment then submitted a request to the Equal Treatment Commission to initiate proceedings in order to examine whether the principle of equal treatment had been violated on grounds of age with regard to salary classification, career advancement or other working conditions. The ITC came to the conclusion that the woman had been discriminated against on the grounds of age and strongly suggested to reclassify the woman’s job.

Example 3: Discrimination in access to employment on grounds of religion

A woman of Turkish origin contacted the Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment after applying for the post of a cleaner in a private hospital with the foreman of a cleaning company. He informed her that the private hospital did not accept women wearing a headscarf as cleaners on their premises. As wearing a headscarf is an essential element of her faith, it was impossible for the woman to take on the job. The Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment therefore requested the cleaning company to provide its comments on this, pointing out that this was inadmissible discrimination on grounds of religion. The company then contacted the Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment and offered a different post to the woman, who had, however, found another job.

Example 4: Harassment in vocational training on grounds of sexual orientation

Two men contacted the Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment, seeking advice and support. Both of them participated in a qualification programme of a personnel leasing agency contracted by the Public Employment Service. They complained inter alia that they felt discriminated against on grounds of their sexual orientation due to various statements made by the employees of the agency. A female trainer had for example answered the question of one of the men affected why he could not find a job despite his exemplary application documents by remarking: “I can tell you why!….Because you can only work for a man who loves men.“ On behalf of the two men, the Ombuds Office for Equal Treatment submitted a request to the Equal Treatment Commission to examine whether discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation occurred in this case.

Telephone advisory service and contact details

Telephone advisory service: Mon. 9 a.m. – 6.30 p.m., Tue. to Fri.: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Call us and arrange for a personal consultation.
All consultations are free and confidential.

Contact details:

Ombud for Equal Treatment irrespective of Ethnicity, Religion or Belief, Age or Sexual Orientation in Employment and Occupation
Taubstummengasse 11
1040 Vienna
phone: +43 1 532 2868, toll-free helpline: 0800 206 119
fax: +43 1 532 0246
e-mail: gaw2@bka.gv.at