The General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) comprehensively protects anybody against discrimination on the grounds of the characteristics stated in Section 1 AGG in relation to the world of work.
The Act results in specific obligations for employers (Section 12 AGG). They range from preventive measures and immediate actions to general organisational obligations. Conversely, under the General Act on Equal Treatment, employees are entitled to demand from their employers that they take the respective measures to protect the employees. For example, employers must take preventive action against discrimination. This can take the form of staff training or codes of ethics that clearly declare discrimination as inadmissible and train employees sufficiently in order to prevent discrimination in the work environment.
In addition, employers are required to act if employees discriminate against others at work. That means it is the obligation of employers to proactively prevent discrimination. In less severe cases, a warning or targeted training may be enough, in more severe cases of discrimination, appropriate measures may include moving, relocating or dismissing the employee.
Employers are also required to protect employees from discrimination by third parties. For example, a supplier who shouts racist slurs at employees may be banned from the premises.
Ultimately, employers are required to make available the General Act on Equal Treatment in its entirety and to provide information on the complaints procedure (such as a three-month period for filing an action), the rights of affected persons and the company departments responsible for handling complaints.
The General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) comprehensively protects people against discrimination on the grounds stated in Section 1 AGG in the field of working life.
Thus, the Act results in specific obligations for employers. They range from preventive measures and immediate actions to general organisational obligations. Conversely, under the General Act on Equal Treatment, employees have a right to demand from their employers that they take the respective measures to protect their employees.
Tips for employers
Many companies are already well positioned when it comes to diversity. However, it becomes evident in many of our counselling cases that discrimination continues to take place in the German labour market.
In the working world, the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) provides comprehensive protection against discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Protection against discrimination includes the entire application procedure, promotions, working conditions, dismissals and company pension schemes.
Whilst implementing and applying the AGG, many questions may arise for employers. These tips are meant to help you meet the requirements of the AGG within your company.
Sexual harassment at work
The General Act on Equal Treatment expressly prohibits sexual harassment. According to the Act, sexual harassment is conduct of a sexual nature that violates the dignity of the person concerned.
The following Q&A provide a brief introduction to the subject: