Second Joint Report
The Second Joint Report, which focused on “Discrimination in education and working life”, was presented to the German Bundestag in 2013.
Building on academic analyses, expert discussions, the evaluation of counselling requests received by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency and other complaints bodies, the report provides an overview of the type and scope of discrimination and risks of discrimination in early childhood education and care, in school and vocational training, at universities and in the labour market. On the one hand, the report analyses risks of discrimination faced by children, pupils and university students; on the other hand, it seeks to identify discriminating mechanisms and processes. It focuses in particular on access to the educational system, educational transitions, performance assessment, expectations and “concepts of normalcy” of individual educational institutions. The report section on employment seeks, among others, to uncover discrimination in job advertisements, application procedures and related areas regarding the access to employment and training. In terms of work and employment conditions, it addresses issues such as discrimination in career advancement, harassment in the workplace and pay inequality.
Recommendations on the key issue of education:
- Strengthening the legal protection against discrimination in education regarding all characteristics protected under the General Act on Equal Treatment (German abbreviation: AGG) and “social origin”. It is necessary to firmly enshrine protection against discrimination in child day-care, school and higher education laws.
- Comprehensive diversity strategies in education should be developed and implemented. Hence, related strategies must take into account all characteristics protected under the General Act on Equal Treatment (German abbreviation: AGG) and “social origin” individually but also multidimensionally.
- Independent counselling and complaints systems must be established in the educational sector. In early childhood and education, such counselling and complaints bodies could join with qualification centres to work on issues such as handling diversity in elementary education. There also needs to be a professional point of contact for pupils, teachers and parents at schools. It is recommended that institutions of higher education establish anti-discrimination and complaints bodies.
Selected recommendations on employment:
- Strengthening complaints and counselling bodies within and outside companies
- Further developing diversity concepts, promoting a diverse workforce
A comprehensive diversity concept should be geared towards all dimensions covered by the General Act on Equal Treatment and include others such as “social origin". Important in this regard is the involvement of the organisation as a whole, from management down to the individual employee. Company agreements may stipulate bans on discrimination.
- Innovative staff recruitment
Equal opportunities can be advanced through novel recruitment strategies such as anonymised applications. Additional decisive factors in staff recruitment are measures that encourage a more diverse workforce, such as quotas and support programmes.
- Revisiting statutory barriers
Bans of religious symbols under state (German: Länder) law should be revisited since they translate to discrimination against e.g. women wearing headscarves. Regarding church employers, the General Act on Equal Treatment German abbreviation: AGG) needs to be adapted to comply with the relevant EU directives.
- Addressing specific needs
Employers should address special needs based on age, gender, ethnic origin, disability, religion or belief, or sexual identity. This includes measures such as the provision of barrier-free access, flexible working hours and child day-care, health promotion services or cafeteria options that are sensitive to religious dietary requirements.