Every year, around a quarter to a third of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency’s consultation requests concern the access to goods and services.
For many people, subjection to discrimination is part of day-to-day life in such activities: When visiting a club, men with a migration background might be denied access due to racism, people with disabilities often report problems in public transport, and homosexual couples and people with non-German sounding names experience discrimination when seeking housing. Accessing supermarkets and doctors’ surgeries accompanied by assistance dogs or having older people disadvantaged when taking out insurance policies or loans are also recurring problems.
In principle, the General Equal Treatment Act (German abbreviation: AGG) bans discrimination in all everyday activities, contractual arrangements and services such as shopping, but also with regard to all other services that are paid for, such as membership in a fitness studio, taking out an insurance, opening a bank account or going to the cinema, hairdresser’s, restaurant, bar or club.
It is important, however, that such goods or services are publicly available on the market and the contract is effectively concluded with anyone willing to pay (so-called bulk business transactions). Discrimination on the basis of ethnic background is always forbidden, however.
The Anti-Discrimination Agency offers a selection of information to better explain discrimination in civil law, inform service and goods providers on the law and to clarify those concerned about their rights.