2017 was a busy year for the Equal Treatment Authority (ETA) in Hungary. As part of its promotional functions, the national equality body has produced four publications, which are now also available in English. These include the ETA’s Manual on Preventing Workplace Harassment and on the Forms of Rights Enforcement , Harassment in the Area of Education , and the experience of ETA with discrimination in the area of education
, as well as a survey report on legal awareness of the right to equal treatment in Hungary . , so that they can provide proper information and effective protection to those who turn to them for help. More about Equinet’s and Equality Bodies’ work on equality and non-discrimination can be found on our website.
ETA’s manual on the subject of workplace harassment is the first in a series of thematic booklets. As a result of hierarchical structures in the workplace and the nature of employment relationships, the ratio of incidences of harassment in employment tends to be fairly high when compared to other areas of social life. Hence, a majority of harassment cases in ETA’s case-law are employment related. Informed cooperation between employers and employees provides the most effective instrument for preventing workplace harassment. By publicly presenting its experiences in the realm of enforcing the law, and by clearly delineating the concept of harassment and sharing the relevant case-law, ETA provides expert information that assists compliance with the law. It also presents the possibilities for enforcing individual rights and offers specific information about forums and procedures that provide legal remedies. The publication is intended for employers , in order to help them pre-empt violations of the law and to recognise in time when these are happening, and to take appropriate action to protect employees; employees , to know their rights and the possibilities for asserting them; non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and trade unions
The focus of the second booklet is harassment in education. It is widely known that harassment by fellow students and teachers at school can have a severe impact on the development of students’ personalities, and this impact may last a lifetime. The law is of course not the most ideal instrument for curbing or preventing such types of conducts. Education and child rearing provided by families and schools, along with the instruments offered by pedagogy and psychology, are the most suitable tools for tackling these problems. Though harassment in school is not primarily a discrimination issue, ETA nevertheless felt that the problem deserved some attention in their second booklet. The equality body recommends this publication to schools, teachers, parents, civil society organisations , and others involved in the educational system .
The publication on the work of ETA related to discrimination in the area of education is based on the equality body’s experience of being approached by numerous parents during the years preceding the publication because of discrimination that their children experienced in school and kindergarten. As a result, ETA has an extensive record of applying the law in this thematic area. The experience gathered by the Equal Treatment Authority in the course of its procedures can be instructive for others as well, which is why this publication presents cases of discrimination in the area of education, along with the relevant legal regulations and ETA’s application of the law. The present booklet complements the aforementioned publication addressing the issue of harassment in schools.
The third of similar research projects, the report on legal awarenss of the right to equal treatment in Hungary is a result of a nationwide, representative questionnaire-based survey, conducted in spring 2017. The survey focused on (1) personally experienced discrimination; (2) social perception of discrimination, and (3) awareness of and attitudes concerning the legal background of equal treatment, as well as awareness of the Equal Treatment Authority. In the examination of legal awareness, an important objective from the perspective of ETA strategies was the exploration of current processes that may serve as guidelines in reducing discrimination and forming public opinion. Wherever relevant and made possible by the data structure, the results of the survey were compared to the findings of the two preceding studies.
The latter, conducted in 2010 and 2013 as the first two stages of the survey, were similarly based on a nationwide representative sampling titled “ Growth rate of legal awareness concerning equal treatment — with special focus on women, Roma people, people with disabilities and LGBT people ”. The objective of the longitudinal research was the exploration of the practices and cause-and-effect relationships resulting in discrimination experienced in various life situations, with special emphasis on the protected groups of women, Roma and people with disabilities.
The research projects were conducted by the Institute for Sociology of the Centre for Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA TK SZI) as part of a complex longitudinal research to explore the various dimensions of discrimination (Neményi et al. 2013). The data collection of the 2017 report was conducted by Ipsos Media, Advertisement, Market and Opinion Research Institute.
ETA was inspired to share their work on equality and non-discrimination through publications during an Equinet training and hopes the shared information will be useful for the work of colleagues within the Equinet network.
Equal Treatment Authority, Hungary
The Equal Treatment Authority (Egyenlő Bánásmód Hatóság (EBH)) is responsible for monitoring the implementation of the principle of equal treatment, and its jurisdiction extends across Hungary. The Authority was established in 2005. It is an independent and autonomous administrative body, subject only to the laws. It is not subject to instructions regarding its functions, and it discharges its responsibilities separately from other bodies and free of outside influence. Its responsibilities must be set out in law. The President of the Equal Treatment Authority is nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President of the Republic for a term of nine years. The Authority’s first and main responsibility is to investigate complaints and reports filed concerning cases involving alleged discrimination. The Authority conducts its investigations based on the rules governing public administration procedures, and its work is supported by a nationwide network of equal treatment consultants. The legal framework for the activities of the Equal Treatment Authority is set out in Act CXXV of 2003 on equal treatment and the promotion of equal opportunities. More information about the Equal Treatment Authority can be found on the Equinet’s European Directory of Equality Bodies webpage.
Related publications by Equality Bodies & Equinet
Other equality bodies within our network, as well as Equinet itself, have done similar research and promotional work, some of which are highlighted below.
, as well as a survey report on legal awareness of the right to equal treatment in Hungary .
, so that they can provide proper information and effective protection to those who turn to them for help.
More about Equinet’s and Equality Bodies’ work on equality and non-discrimination can be found on our website.