Anti-Discrimination Agency broadens consultation services 2021.09.24

Launch of expanded telephone consultation, a new online guide and the revised website

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency has expanded its consultation services in response to the surging number of requests.  Starting 28 September, a new service office will ensure telephone consultation services are available Monday - Thursday from 9 a.m. – 3°p.m. on the new free phone number 0800 – 546 546 5 . The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency’s completely refurbished website has already gone live - adding services including a digital guide, smart search functions and an updated consultation map.

We are delighted to finally have more resources at our disposal to serve the people who experience discrimination, said Bernhard Franke, acting head of the Anti-Discrimination Agency in Berlin on Friday. What matters to us is to be able to offer people experiencing discrimination high-quality advice both online and over the phone. To ensure this, we have teamed up with the Federal Office of Family Affairs and Civil Society Functions, which has many years of experience providing telephone consultation (Violence Against Women Support Hotline). A completely new feature is our online guide that provides fast information to those interested in learning about the options available to them when facing discrimination. While, of course, the guide can never replace consultation, it is valuable as an initial guidance,” Franke said.

In 2020, the number of advice requests to the Anti-Discrimination Agency rose by 78 per cent over the year before. Overall, the Agency provided legal consultation, solicited opinions or mediated amicable settlements in 6,383 cases in 2020. In 2019, this had been 3,580 cases.  It was above all requests concerning discrimination on grounds of ethnicity or on racist grounds that markedly increased by 78.7 percent –to 2,101 requests up from 1,176 requests in 2019. Similar, sometimes significant, increases were also noted for the other protected characteristics. Moreover, the coronavirus pandemic was responsible for a one-off effect. Specifically, the Anti-Discrimination Agency counted 1,904 requests as being directly related to the pandemic, the majority of which concerning the mask mandate.

At times, the Anti-Discrimination Agency was only able to offer legal consultation via an online consultation form and/or email in an effort to cope with the rising demand for advice. With the launch of the service office, persons affected by discrimination can now get help once more by phone and during a considerably longer consultation hour window. A total of seven new posts were added to the service office and legal consultation staff.

The completely refurbished web presence informs about discrimination in various spheres of life and the rights of those affected. Here, a special focus lay on ensuring accessible use of the website, several languages and improved search functions. Thanks to the advice centre search, users can quickly contact local and civil society advice centres and anti-discrimination agencies of the Laender. Newly integrated into the website, the immediate assistance guide takes users to initial legal information and suitable consultation services in four clicks. The new section “#betriebsklimaschutz” showcases good practice examples of addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency is an independent contact point for persons affected by discriminatio. It was established in 2006 when the General Act on Equal Treatment entered into force. The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency does public relations work and research on the topic of Discrimination and offers legal initial counselling for people who have been discriminated against on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, ideology, sexual identity, age, disability or gender.