The report is based on

  1. an evaluation of counselling requests received by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, the above-mentioned Federal Government Commissioners and other anti-discrimination bodies between 2013 and 2016.
  2. results of the study "Discrimination Experience in Germany" (only available in German), which provide an overview of discrimination experienced in different areas of life and by different groups.

Key results:

  1. Many people experience discrimination
    In the representative part of the "Discrimination Experience in Germany study" (only available in German), nearly one in three respondents (31.4 per cent) reports having experienced discrimination in the two years before the study.
  2. Discrimination affects everyone, but some more than others
    Certain groups face a higher risk of being discriminated against than others. At the same time, multiple discrimination is of major relevance. In this regard, sex or gender is a category often linked to various forms of discrimination: for example, in combination with age if women are denied a job due to a potential pregnancy or because they have children.
  3. Discrimination experiences beyond the limits of the AGG (German abbreviation: AGG)
    People also experience discrimination on grounds of characteristics not covered by Section 1 of the General Act on Equal Treatment (German abbreviation: AGG), in particular “social origin”, marital status, nationality or physical appearance.
  4. Discrimination comes in many forms
    The type of discrimination largely depends on the respective areas of life and characteristics affected. In terms of important resources such as work, education, housing or goods and insurance policies, discrimination often takes the form of denied access or denial of service or reduced opportunities due to less favourable treatment.

The second part of the report deals with discrimination at job centres and employment agencies, building on the study "Discrimination risks in public employment services" (only available in German).

Key results Part Two:

  1. Risks of discrimination in public employment services arise from staff lacking sufficient professionalism in performing placement and integration services when they are in direct contact with job seekers.
  2. Shortcomings in career counselling and barriers (e.g. no services in easy read or limited interpreting services) when accessing services pose institutional risks of discrimination for customers.
  3. The set of performance indicators applied by the employment agencies and job centres is considered problematic. Thus, professionals do not tailor their placement efforts enough to the needs of job seekers such as single parents or people with disabilities.
  4. As procedures and decisions in public employment services are mainly handled and made orally, customers often find that procedures and procedural rights are not transparent and hard to understand.

Recommendations for more effective protection against discrimination:

Based on the results of the first part of the report, the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, the Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Persons with Disabilities and the Federal Government Commissioner for Integration jointly made the following recommendations.

  1. Improving access to protection against discrimination and enforcement of rights for affected persons Anti-discrimination associations should be granted a right allowing associations to take legal action. Moreover, the time limits set out in Section 15 (4) AGG and Section 21 (5) AGG should be extended from two to six months.
  2. Limiting the exceptions to the prohibition of discrimination under civil law
    The Federal Government should reconsider its resistance to the draft of the 5th Directive on Equal Treatment of the EU. The justification which exists in favour of housing companies in Section 19 (3) AGG should be deleted.
  3. Strengthening protection against discrimination with regard to government action
    It is recommended that, among others, an arbitration body should be established at the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency on the basis of Section 16 of the Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities (German abbreviation: BGG). It is also recommended that police and schools set up independent complaints bodies.
  4. Promoting protection against discrimination through appropriate measures
  5. Obliging private providers of services to ensure accessibility
  6. Supporting advice in cases of discrimination, establishing anti-discrimination counselling centres nationwide through institutional funding
    It is recommended that state and non-state anti-discrimination centres should be expanded promptly and comprehensively at federal, state and local level.
  7. Systematically collecting data on equality, expanding discrimination research that is based on human rights

Recommendations: Part Two – Risks of discrimination in public employment services and related risks of discrimination

  1. Strengthening the legal protection against discrimination and the role of the commissioners for equal opportunities in the labour market
    The legislator is encouraged to extend the prohibition of discrimination to all discrimination criteria when claiming social rights (Section 33c of the First Book of the Social Code (German abbreviation: SGB I)).
  2. Enabling transparent decisions through information, the right to a written decision and comprehensible and plausible reasons
    The Federal Employment Agency and job centres should, among other things, provide information on the procedural rights of those entitled to benefits.
  3. More professional staff at employment agencies and job centres
  4. Improving cooperation at interfaces
    It is proposed, among others, that the legislator transfer to the Federal Employment Agency, which is already responsible for rehabilitation, the entire responsibility for benefits across the various applicable regulations in order to identify potential rehabilitation needs of job seekers with disabilities in job centres’ area of competence.
  5. Improving procedural standing, promoting participation
    Job seekers with disabilities should be given a statutory right to the use of specialist integration services; the use of special advisory staff (teams specialising in rehab/people with severe disabilities) should be required by law, also in the Second Book of the German Social Code (German abbreviation: SGB II).
  6. Further developing and monitoring indicator control
    Indicator control sets out targets regarding the number of counselling and placement sessions to be organised by employment agencies and job centres. It should therefore be regularly monitored that these specified targets do not result in risks of discrimination, e.g. for unemployed people experiencing placement difficulties.
  7. Proactively countering the formation of stereotyped labour market segments
    For example, career counselling should be guided solely by the prospects of an activity in the labour market and individual resources and needs of job seekers and e.g. not place women in typical women jobs in education and long-term care.

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