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Dialogue on counselling

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency regularly meets with other anti-discrimination bodies for technical discussions titled “Dialogue on counselling”.

These working meetings provide an opportunity for counsellors to regularly discuss counselling cases and for networking. These meetings always have a priority theme to allow for a result-oriented debate and to connect with other participants.

“Equal treatment in the digital sphere” was the main topic of the first exchange of expertise in June 2018, at which access to online business using the PostIdent procedure was presented and the question of how this leads to discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin was discussed. In many cases, Deutsche Post AG (German abbreviation for joint stock company) does not allow for this procedure if you do not have a German passport. After the meeting, the company improved its services and designated a contact person for the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency in case of conflicts regarding the PostIdent procedure.

In 2019, the technical discussion was titled “Treated equally? How to counsel in case of discrimination at the doctor’s surgery?”. Experts from anti-discrimination counselling as well as from the German Dental Association, the Medical Association of Westphalia-Lippe and Deutsche Aidshilfe e.V. (German abbreviation for registered association) exchanged expertise on risks of discrimination in medical care and medical treatment. They, in particular, discussed the question whether the legal relationship between physicians and patients was covered by the General Act on Equal Treatment (German abbreviation: AGG). Working groups discussed specific cases and legal issues (e.g. refusal of treatment due to HIV, headscarf, linguistic barriers or assistance dog). A few months later, the Berlin Higher Regional Court passed an indicative decision and following this, the Federal Constitutional Court passed a ruling from which it can be concluded that the General Act on Equal Treatment (German abbreviation: AGG) applies to the contract governing physiotherapeutic treatment (Berlin Higher Regional Court, indicative decision of 12 December 2019–20, U 160/16; Federal Constitutional Court, 30 January 2020, Case No. 2 BvR 1005/18, decision).