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Equal treatment

The Employment Contracts Act imposes an obligation on employers to treat employees equally. An employer may not discriminate between employees on grounds of age, state of health, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, language, religion, opinion, belief, family relationships, trade union activity, political activity or any other comparable reason without an acceptable justification.

The starting point for equal treatment is that employees are treated equally in similar situations. Such situations may include, for example, issuing a warning or referring people to treatment. The Non-discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the same grounds.

Employees may be placed in a different position if there is an objectively acceptable reason for doing so. For example, the use of an incentive pay system is acceptable.

Equality Act

Act on Equality between Women and Men ensures equal treatment of genders in working life. According to the law, employers are obliged to promote gender equality in a planned and goal-oriented manner. Direct or indirect discrimination on the basis of gender is prohibited. The employer may be ordered to pay financial compensation to the discriminated employee. The Act does not apply to religious practice or private life.

According to the Act, employers must ensure that both women and men apply for open positions, promote the equal placement of women and men in different positions and create equal opportunities for them to advance in their careers. The employer shall promote equality between women and men as regards working conditions, particularly pay, and develop working conditions so that they are suitable for both women and men. The employer must also act in such a way that gender-based discrimination can be prevented in advance.

In workplaces with 30 or more employees, the employer must draw up an equality plan each year.

The Equality Act also prohibits indirect discrimination. Indirect discrimination may include, for example, poorer working conditions for part-time or fixed-term employees if the majority of these employees are of one gender.

The Act also defines sexual harassment and harassment on the basis of gender as discrimination. A supervisor may also be guilty of discrimination by giving instructions to practise discrimination. 

Education tips on the topic

You can also learn more about the topic in the online training library for working life, which is part of your member benefits. To access the courses, you must sign up to the online training library. If you have already taken advantage of your free membership benefit and started using the service, log in and click directly to the trainings from the links below. If you haven’t yet signed up, you can do so in the Webinars and Courses section in the Oma+ service for our members

Equality and discrimination situations in the workplace

Diversity, inclusion, equality