November 28, 2017

The General Equal Treatment Act

The General Equal Treatment Act (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz - AGG) imposes sanctions for discrimination based on the following criteria: race, ethnic background, gender, religion, ideology, disability, age and sexual identity.

Prevention measures required

Under the act, the employer is obligated to make use of those prevention measures that are required to protect his employees from discrimination, especially in the form of harassment. The act expressly stipulates that appropriate training measures for all employees are considered effective in fulfillment of the necessary preventive measures.

Consequences of discrimination

Claims for damages by the employee caused by discrimination are subject to the employer being at fault. The employer is liable for conduct by its employees that is contrary to the act (such as behavior by Supervisors that is disadvantageous to subordinates). There are no ceilings on liability.

An employee can also claim compensation even if he or she has not suffered material damage through the discrimination. In contrast to the claim for damages, the claim for compensation is independent of the employer's fault. The act does not establish a certain amount but only calls for an "appropriate" compensation.

For gross violations of the employer against its obligations under the act, the works council or a union represented in the company can assert a required action, toleration, or injunction by filing an action.

Regulations in any kind of agreement that are in violation of the prohibition of discrimination by the act are ineffective.


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Julius Jacoby

Arbeitsrecht, Wirtschaftsrecht, Internationales Recht

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Oleg Livschits

Arbeitsrecht, Datenschutz, Europarecht

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