Workplace equality

As an employee, you have the right to work without discrimination. If you experience unequal treatment or witness others being treated unequally, notify your employer and, if necessary, the authorities dealing with equality issues.

Workplace discrimination is not allowed. The Finnish Equality Act prohibits discrimination on grounds such as gender and its expression, parenthood and family responsibilities. Under the Non-Discrimination Act, no one may be discriminated on the grounds of age, origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, trade union activity, family relationships, health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. 

Workplace equality must be promoted especially in pay, working conditions, terms of employment and career development. Your employer must treat everyone equally when it comes to recruitment, orientation, division of duties, promotions and dismissal situations. 

Very different types of discrimination can occur in the workplace. It can be, for example, uneven distribution of work tasks, sexual harassment or unfair pay. Discrimination can also occur before the actual hiring, if the employer sets irrelevant or inappropriate requirements for the employee to be recruited as selection criteria or in the job posting. In a hiring situation it is considered discrimination when, for example, the employer recruits a less meritorious person instead of a more meritorious person solely on the basis of gender. 

Reporting and preventing discrimination

If discrimination occurs at your workplace, report it to your employer. You can discuss the subject with your supervisor in one-on-one development discussions, for example. If you suspect that you have experienced discrimination but are not sure, or if your employer will not intervene in the discrimination, there are several parties you can contact. For example, you can get advice on your situation from the Ombudsman for Equality, the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal or the occupational safety and health authorities of a regional state administrative agency. 

Do remember that, if your workplace has at least 30 employees, it must have a prepared gender equality plan. The plan must be drawn up in consultation with representatives appointed by the staff. Among other things, the equality plan should address recruitment, pay, performance assessment, opportunities to influence and well-being at work. A plan alone is not enough. Instead, the issues presented in the equality plan must be put into practice. As an employee, you have the right to familiarise yourself with the equality plan.

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