Social exclusion at workplace. LEHTIKUVA

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Discrimination in the workplace remains a significant problem in Finland, with health status and nationality among the most scrutinized reasons. The 2023 Equality and Non-Discrimination Oversight Report by the Occupational Safety and Health Authority highlights these persistent issues.

In 2023, the authority received approximately 520 inquiries related to workplace discrimination.

These inquiries mostly sought advice on handling discrimination situations or clarification on whether certain scenarios constituted discrimination.

Out of these inquiries, 175 formal monitoring requests were processed, leading to 101 inspections that focused on individual cases of discrimination against employees or job applicants. A quarter of these inspections revealed that employers had violated anti-discrimination laws.

Key Findings from the Report

  • Over half of the inspections initiated due to monitoring requests were related to the termination of employment. Around 40% dealt with discrimination during employment, and about 10% concerned hiring processes.
  • More than half of the obligations issued pertained to the termination of employment, while less than a third were related to discrimination during employment. Nearly 15% addressed discrimination in hiring.
  • The majority of inspections were related to discrimination based on health status. The second most common type was discrimination based on other personal reasons, followed by cases related to origin, nationality, or language.
  • The highest number of obligations for violating anti-discrimination laws were issued for discrimination based on personal reasons, with health status being the second most common reason.

Some workplace discrimination goes unreported because various minority groups may be hesitant to contact authorities and report their experiences. Consequently, the Occupational Safety and Health Authority receives few reports of discrimination based on disability or sexual orientation, resulting in fewer related inspections.

The Occupational Safety and Health Authority also conducts proactive monitoring of discrimination, particularly in the use of foreign labor, with around a thousand inspections in this area. Discrimination based on origin, language, or nationality was found in about one in ten inspections, particularly in wage payments and minimum employment conditions, a situation unchanged since 2021 and 2022. Inspections of sending companies revealed more cases of discrimination compared to the previous year.

In 2023, 123 inspections focused on equality plans and employers' obligations to promote equality, with over 70% revealing deficiencies, a 10% improvement from 2022. Additionally, 11 inspections targeted discriminatory job advertisements, with nine confirming violations.

The detailed findings are available in the Occupational Safety and Health Authority's latest report, "Monitoring of Equality and Non-Discrimination in the Workplace in 2023," which includes case studies. The report will also be published in Swedish and English later.

The national helpline for the Occupational Safety and Health Authority operates weekdays from 9 AM to 3 PM at 0295 016 620. Individuals can call anonymously. Monitoring of an individual's discrimination case requires their consent, but anonymous tips can be provided for other observed discrimination instances.

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