The Non-Discrimination Act will be amended at the beginning of June – the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman wants to intervene especially in discrimination at workplaces


The Non-Discrimination Act will be amended on 1 June 2023, which will expand the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman’s influence over workplaces.

Discrimination may occur in many different situations at workplaces, such as recruitment, employment and termination of employment. In this case, the jobseeker’s or employee’s skills are determined by prejudice instead of competence and experience.

The Non-Discrimination Act entered into force in 2015. It provides that 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. The objective of the Act is to prevent discrimination and to improve the legal protection of those who have been discriminated against. Under the Act, workplace non-discrimination must be promoted especially in pay, working conditions, terms of employment and career development.

The Non-Discrimination Act will be amended in early June 2023. As a result of the amendment, the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman’s influence over workplaces will be expanded, and in the future, the Ombudsman will also have the power to supervise compliance with the Non-Discrimination Act in individual discrimination cases. Their competence is parallel to the occupational safety and health authority’s competence. The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman wants to intervene in recruitment discrimination in particular. The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman is an independent authority that promotes equality and intervenes in discrimination.

The previous Non-Discrimination Act already obliges employers to assess the state of equality at the workplace and plan measures to promote it. In the future, employers must also carry out an assessment of the state of equality with regard to recruitment. Additionally, the workplace’s non-discrimination plan must include a report on the conclusions of the equality assessment.

With the legislative amendment at the beginning of June, you can also contact the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman when you have experienced or suspect that you have experienced discrimination at work. Under the amended Act, a case related to discrimination can also be referred to the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal without naming an individual victim. This means that harassment may be targeted at not only individuals but also at groups of people.

Preventing discrimination at workplaces is part of Job Market Finland

Job Market Finland also aims to reduce recruitment-related discrimination. Job seekers publish their job applicant profiles anonymously, so employers looking for employees can only see the job seeker’s previous experience and competence. This way, employers select those to be interviewed based on skills alone, which reduces the impact of even unconscious prejudices on decisions.

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