Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

PORTUGAL – Manual for prevention and combat harassment at the workplace

[/

Description

At the beginning of 2012 CITE – Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, represented by its President, started to coordinate a tripartite working group within its tripartite commission, comprised of representatives of the social partners, of the Secretary of State for Public Administration and the Secretary of State for Equality, Labour Inspectorate (ACT), Directorate General for Employment and Labour Relations (DGERT) and Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG), with the goal of designing a manual for prevention and combat harassment at the workplace, targeting companies.

The working group met six times over 12 months. CITE assumed the responsibility of being the working group rapporteur.

The working methodology was divided into several phases:

  • Study of Community legislation;
  • Study of national legislation;
  • Study of comparative law;
  • Analysis of international good practices;
  • Preparation of a proposal;
  • Discussion of the proposal;
  • Vote on the motion.

The manual for prevention and combat harassment at the workplace, its structure and contents having been agreed between all parties, was put to vote and approved, in March 2013, by majority although the social partners representing the employers voted against it.

CITE’s structure, which is of tripartite and equilateral composition, ensures the independence of its decisions because all members have the right to vote and each vote is of equal worth.

The manual for prevention and combat harassment at the workplace is a guide of self-regulative nature, and may be used as guidance to companies wishing to set up systems and procedures to prevent harassment in their workplaces.

This is an informative manual aiming to be an instrument to support companies of all sectors and size, public or private, that want to pursue, voluntarily, an active policy in order to prevent, combat and eliminate harassment in the workplace.

The main and ultimate goal of this guide is not to create new duties for employers, private or public, but solely contribute to its clarification – and their workers – about sexual and moral harassment on the workplace

This guide is a tool that aims to support, in a simple way, the identification of harassment and inspire the building of procedures to prevent and combat such phenomena in the workplace, which can only be achieved in practice with the commitment and cooperation between representatives of the employer, public or private, and the representatives of the workers, who, together, should whenever possible include in this cause the services of safety and health at work./]

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

PORTUGAL – Equality is Quality Award

In order to encourage employers in achieving gender equality, CITE – Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, launched in 2000 the Equality is Quality Award (now at its 10th edition). This award is given to companies and other employers with policies in the area of gender equality and the reconciliation of personal life, family and work. Since the 8th edition the award is a joint initiative between CITE and CIG – Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality.

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

PORTUGAL – Appraisal of the legality of collective bargaining provisions and of the arbitration award

[/

Description

Under the powers provided for in article 479º of the Labour Code and article 3º, paragraph i) and j) of the organic law of the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment – CITE approved by Decree-Law No. 76/2012, 26th of March, which consists in the appraisal of the legality of collective bargaining provisions and of the arbitration award in mandatory and necessary arbitration proceedings, both with regards to their compliance with equality between men and women in labour requirements, whenever there is suspicion of discrimination, as required by Labour Code, CITE is, since April 2011, coordinating a working group within its tripartite commission, comprised of representatives of the social partners, of the Secretary of State for Public Administration and the Secretary of State for Equality, Labour Inspectorate (ACT), Directorate General for Employment and Labour Relations (DGERT) and Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG), to do the following tasks:

  • Appraisal of all collective agreements (IRCTn), in the first 30 days after its official publication, or arbitration awards (DA) published in the Bulletin of Labour and Employment (BTE) fortnightly and drafting legal opinion on each of the applicable contractual provisions containing evidence of discrimination on the grounds of gender or by infringement of the legal regime of parenting.
  • Meeting of the tripartite working group for decision making, followed by drafting of a reasoned opinion to be sent to public prosecutor in order to promote a judicial procedure to declare such clauses null and void and to eradicate them from the collective agreement.

Making use of this legal power, the Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment – CITE has already instigated several claims regarding collective agreements and some actions have been brought before the Courts by the public prosecutor in that respect.

Social partners showed some discomfort resulting from the fact that they were being faced with lawsuits, incurring in expenses, such as legal costs and court fees. However, from a legal point of view, the social partners did not contest the position of CITE’s tripartite commission and the clauses declared null and void by the courts were eradicated from the collective agreements.

Considering this discomfort of the social partners but also the conviction of the majority of CITE’s members about the unlawfulness of some of the clauses in the collective agreements related with equality between men and women and the need and importance of changing this scenario, reinforced by court decisions on this subject, CITE decided to make a proposal to the Ministry of Labour to undertake a legislative amendment in order to change some procedures of this legal power.

It was proposed that, after the appraisal of the collective agreements and decision about the unlawfulness of certain clauses by the tripartite commission, the social partners would have 60 days to assess and change the clauses that themselves recognised as illegal and republish the amended collective agreement in the Bulletin of Labour and Employment (BTE).

This legislative amendment came into force on 1 August 2012 (Law n.º 23/2012, 25 of June). After this change the working group within CITE tripartite commission has also the following tasks related with the appraisal of the collective agreements:

  • Preparation of reports for prior hearing regarding clauses that may be considered illegal, and which the parties may challenge or promote its change within 60 days.
  • Preparation of recommendations to the parties to amend the clauses where there are inadequacies to the legislation, i.e. terminology, phrases or wording of clauses that although can not be considered illegal are inadequate to the law or new legal concepts of gender equality and parenting.

Almost a year over this legislative change, CITE can say that it was very timely and with good results, since all parties that have been notified by CITE to amend collective agreements clauses have been available to do it voluntarily and republishing the amended collective agreements in BTE.

CITE also noticed that the collective agreements that were recently published or republished in BTE and that had never been appraised by CITE, the clauses regarding gender equality and parenting have been written according to the legal rules.

In conclusion, the result of this tripartite work is that more collective agreements have been published without unlawful clauses regarding equality between men and women which reflects the increased awareness of the social partners to this subject within the collective bargaining./]

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

IRELAND – Research on business-case for equality

[/

Description

In Ireland and at EU level it is increasingly recognised that pro-active workplace equality and diversity strategies must play a central role in developing non-discrimination policy beyond legislation. Research on the business case for equality strategies is a key driver for action by employers in this area and has therefore been a key priority for the Equality Authority over a number of years. Four major studies – all carried out by leading academic researchers – have been published to date[[The reports discussed here and all our other published research reports can be downloaded at www.equality.ie/research]].

In 2005 the Equality Authority published Equality at Work? Workplace Equality Policies, Flexible Working Arrangements and the Quality of Work[[Philip O’Connell and Frances McGinnity (2005) Equality at Work?: Workplace Equality Policies Flexible Working Arrangements and the Quality of Work. Dublin: The Equality Authority]]. This study analysed data from a 2003 National Workplace Survey of over 5,000 employees in Ireland. It found that having an equality policy in the workplace was strongly associated with:

  • lower levels of work stress, and
  • higher levels of both job satisfaction and organisational commitment.

In addition, employees who worked in organisations that had implemented equality policies were much more likely to consider that opportunities for recruitment, pay and conditions, and opportunities for advancement and career development were fair and equal in their organisations.

In 2007 the Equality Authority published The Business Case for Equality and Diversity: the International Evidence[[Kathy Monks (2007) The Business Impact of Equality and Diversity: The International Evidence. Dublin: The Equality Authority and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance]] which reviews and synthesises existing international research. This study found that organisations see performance outcomes from equality and diversity initiatives in four inter-related areas:

  • Human capital benefits such as the ability to resolve labour shortages and recruit and retain high calibre staff.
  • Increased market opportunities with access to more diverse markets.
  • Enhancement of organisational reputation to suppliers, customers and prospective and existing employees.
  • Changes to organisational culture such as improved working relations and reductions in litigation.

Importantly it also found that the success of equality and diversity initiatives “depends on their integration into both the organisation’s strategy and its culture so that they shape the way in which business is undertaken and the ways in which individuals work.” (page 6)

New Models of High Performance Work Systems: the Business Case for Strategic HRM, Partnership and Diversity and Equality Systems[[Patrick C. Flood, James P. Guthrie , Wenchuan Liu, Claire Armstrong, Sarah McCurtain, Thaddeus Mkamwa and Cathal O’Regan (2008) New Models of High Performance Work Systems: The Business Case for Strategic HRM, Partnership and Diversity and Equality Systems Dublin : The Equality Authority and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance. See also Claire Armstrong, et al., ‘The impact of diversity and equality management on firm performance: beyond high performance work systems’, Human Resource Management, vol. 49, No. 6, pp. 977–998 November/December 2010]] was published in 2008. This study drew on a specific survey of 132 medium to large companies in Ireland. It found that active management of equality and diversity was positively associated with measurably better business performance – specifically with higher levels of labour productivity, business innovation and employee retention.

Most recently in 2011 the Equality Authority published ‘Workplace Equality in the Recession? The Incidence and Impact of Equality Policies and Flexible Working’[[Helen Russell and Frances McGinnity (2011) Workplace Equality in the Recession? The Incidence and Impact of Equality Policies and Flexible Working Dublin: The Equality Authority and the Economic and Social Research Institute. This project was co-funded by the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity – PROGRESS (2007-2013)]]. This study draws on data from the National Workplace Survey 2009, collected after Ireland had entered a deep recession. Overall this report finds that the positive outcomes identified in the 2003 survey and reported above are confirmed in 2009:

  • The presence of an equality policy is associated with lower levels of work pressure and work-life conflict.
  • Equality policies are associated with higher job satisfaction and higher employee commitment to their place of work.
  • An important new finding is that equality policies are also associated with higher levels of output innovation in the previous two years, as reported by employees.

Thus it is clear that formal equality policies continue to be associated with benefits for both employees and the organisations they work for – despite the very different conditions that now prevail in the Irish economy and labour market. It therefore seems clear that companies that capture these benefits through proactive equality and diversity strategies are strengthening their prospects for recovery and future growth.

Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

Employers.

Employers must not discriminate in

  • advertising jobs
  • pay
  • access to employment
  • vocational training and work experience
  • terms and conditions of employment
  • promotion or re-grading
  • classification of posts
  • dismissal
  • collective agreements.

Employers must not harass or sexually harass an employee and must prevent an employee from being harassed or sexually harassed by a client, customer or other business contact.

Employers are required to take appropriate measures, where needed in a particular case, to enable a disabled person to have access to employment, to participate or advance in employment and to undergo training, unless the measures would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer.

Employers are vicariously liable in relation to discriminatory acts of their employees, unless the employer took reasonably practical steps to prevent the discrimination.

Employers are permitted to take positive action measures with a view to ensuring full equality in practice between employees, on all nine discriminatory grounds specified in Irish equality legislation.

Main objective of the project

The objective of the project was to develop the empirical evidence base in Ireland on the impact of equality and diversity strategies on the performance of firms and organisations.

Note that over the years the Equality Authority has implemented a wide range of programmes and actions aimed at encouraging and supporting employers to put in place planned and systematic approaches to workplace equality. The building of a specific evidence base on the business case for pro-active workplace equality and diversity strategies was early identified as a key driver for action by employers in this area.

Tools

Research

The main objective was to build the empirical evidence base in Ireland on the impact of equality and diversity strategies on the performance of firms and organizations. Thus research was necessarily a central tool. The decision to pursue research in this area was also influenced by (a) the fact that existing data sets (the National Workplace Surveys of 2003 and 2009) already contained data that it was possible to reanalyse for the project; and (b) another State agency – the National Centre for Partnership and Performance, which had a mandate to promote workplace modernisation and considerable expertise in research on firms and workplaces – was willing to join as a partner in two of the research studies.

Key achievements

The Equality Authority’s research on the business case provides robust empirical evidence that active management of equality and diversity is positively associated with measurably better business performance. These findings have been taken up widely by employer and business organisations in Ireland and have been cited internationally[[See European Commission (2011) Realising the Business Benefits with European Diversity Charters: Managing Diversity at Work. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union]].

The Equality Authority’s research has also highlighted that proactive equality and diversity strategies entail important benefits for employees – and not just those who are members of “at-risk groups” – in terms of reduced work related stress and increased job satisfaction. Indeed – as this gives rise to greater organisational commitment – this is an important channel though which the benefits to the company are brought about. This important finding has also helped secure the support of worker organisations for proactive workplace equality and diversity strategies.

Key challenges

A key challenge was access to data. As noted above, the decision to pursue research in this area was influenced by the fact that existing data sets (the National Workplace Surveys of 2003 and 2009) already contained data that it was possible to reanalyze for two of the four reports carried out to date. This was essential as the equality body could not have borne the costs of collecting these data in the first instance./]

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

IRELAND – Regulation of further education providers

[/

Description

The Equality Authority worked with FETAC, the agency overseeing further education in Ireland, to develop equality requirements for its quality assurance standards for the sector. This has resulted in a requirement on all education providers to develop equality policies as a condition of registration as a certified provider of further education and training.

The Further Education Support Service (FESS) of the Department of Education and Skills worked with the Equality Authority and key further education organisations to develop a resource to provide guidance for providers of further education and training on complying with the FETAC standard. The resource provides advice and templates on:

  • developing an equality action plan;
  • undertaking an equality audit of services;
  • preparing an equality policy for learners and service users.

The Equality Authority has established a panel of equality experts that further education providers can use to support them to undertake training or equality planning and to insert equality processes into the design and delivery of their programmes.

Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The duty bearers that we targeted are the providers of further education. Under the equality legislation, these duty bearers must not discriminate in the provision of further education on nine grounds:

  • gender,
  • civil status (that is, being single married, divorced, widowed, in a same-sex civil partnership, or having previously been in a civil partnership),
  • family status (being a parent of a person under 18 or have responsibility as a carer for a person with a disability),
  • age,
  • religion,
  • sexual orientation,
  • race,
  • disability, and
  • membership of the Traveller community.

The Further Education and Training Council was established by law to make awards in the further education sector in Ireland and to certify providers of further education. FETAC developed quality assurance (QA) standards for providers of further education, covering issues such as programme development, delivery and review; communications; assessment of learners; etc. Equality is one of eight areas that are named in the FETAC QA framework. Accredited providers of further education must provide equality training to their staff and must have an equality policy.

The FETAC documentation states:

Programmes of education and training and related services should be delivered in a manner that accommodates diversity, combats discrimination and promotes equality of opportunity. Delivery agencies should have an institutional capacity and commitment to combat discrimination, to accommodate and make adjustments for diversity.

Equality Policy(ies) should be prominently displayed and circulated to all. Responsibility for implementing the policy(ies) should be assigned with procedures for implementation and handling discrimination complaints.

A provider’s Equality Policy should express its commitment to equality in employment and service provision and anti harassment.

Main objective of the project

The main objective of the project was to work in partnership with FETAC to insert equality requirements into its standards for the further education and training sector by inserting an equality requirement into FETAC’s Quality Assurance process for further education and training providers.

Tools

The tool chosen was “co-operating with regulatory bodies”. The objective was to embed equality requirements in the requirements places upon providers of further education in order for them to be accredited.

Key achievements

The inclusion of equality in the national standard has ensured that all further education and training providers must take action on equality. As a result, it has prompted education providers to change their practices and to integrate equality into their way of working.

Key challenges

A key challenge identified is a risk that the action on equality may become a ‘tick box exercise’ if it is not driven by a commitment to equality within the education provider itself. Education and training providers need access to equality supports in order to comply with FETAC requirements and to embed equality within their institutions. The Equality Authority has established a panel of equality experts who can provide direct supports to the sector to implement equality actions. The Equality Authority also worked with the Further Education Support Service (Department of Education and Skills) to develop a resource to support providers in implementing the equality requirement within Quality Assurance./]

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

SWEDEN – Discriminatory practices in the health sector


Description

During 2010 and 2011 the Equality Ombudsman had a special focus on the health sector with the purpose of identifying and putting light on discrimination and discriminatory practices in the health sector. The Ombudsman cooperated closely with key stakeholders, including the National Board of Health and Welfare. A report describing the findings was published earlier this year by the Equality Ombudsman. The National Board of Health and Welfare during 2011 also produced a broader report on equality in health care where they identified similar problems with discriminatory treatment and inequality in the health care sector. One of the main problems identified was shortcomings in how individuals seeking health care were treated when contacting providers of health care.

Based on these reports the Swedish government tasked the National Board of Health and Welfare with developing training material and training-courses for duty bearers in the health sector and their staff. The government provided funds amounting to 4 million SEK for this purpose. In this effort the board is instructed to cooperate with the Equality Ombudsman in order that issues related to discrimination and equal rights and opportunities are taken into consideration when developing the material.

The training material should target personnel working in the health sector and should focus particularly on how individuals are treated and the information they receive when they seek and get medical treatment. The material will include information about the anti-discrimination legislation, about the problems of discrimination in the health sector and methods that health care providers can use to address problems and ensure equal rights and opportunities. The project should also develop a pilot project for testing and evaluating the training material and training-courses.

The work started in October 2012 and have been reported to the government by 30 September 2013. The next step is to test the effectiveness of the material in a small number local and regional hospitals and other types of health care wards, and this is going to take place during Spring and Autumn 2014.


Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The National Board of Health and Welfare is a government agency under the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, with a wide range of activities and many different duties within the fields of health, medical services and social services. The agency has supervisory powers in these fields and develops standards based on legislation. Their activities focus on staff, managers and decision-makers in the abovementioned areas.

The National Board of Health and Welfare is not targeted as a duty bearer. The project is run jointly by two supervisory bodies to ensure that the output is of the highest quality. The duty bearers that are ultimately the target of the project – health care providers – have a duty under the Discrimination Act not to discriminate individuals because of their sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.

The Equality Ombudsman is engaged in a National Platform for Equal Access to Health and Healthcare. Within this network arena some duty bearers and some professional trade organisations (altogether 15-20 organisations) in the health care sector cooperates to arrange national public conferences about equal access to health care, and joint workshops to highlight and disseminate new methods and knowledge to the actors in the network. In this work the Equality Ombudsman has the possibility to use the lessons learned from the government project with the National Board of Health and Welfare.


Main objectives of the project

The long term objective is to improve how individuals are treated when seeking health care and to ensure that the medical needs of the individual is the focus in these contacts. The training material and the training courses should increase the awareness among health care providers and their staff of relevant legal requirements in the field and to provide concrete advice concerning working methods. The short term objective of the Equality Ombudsman is to ensure that the material produced in a correct way relates to the discrimination act and the protected discrimination grounds.


Tools

The Equality Ombudsman cooperates with a regulatory body (g) in order to provide advice and guidance to duty bearers in the health sector (e). In its report on health care the Equality Ombudsman identified a number of measures to be taken at different levels to address the problems in the health care sector. One of the proposals pointed to the need to increase awareness through trainings among health care providers and their staff about legal requirements and other matters related to discrimination and equality. Based on this proposal the government requested the National Board of Health and Welfare to carry out the project.


Key achievements

The project has raised the knowledge and understanding of the questions at stake both within the work of the National Board of Health and Welfare and the Equality Ombudsman. Some of the result is presented at the National Conference for Equal Access to Health Care 21 March 2014. After testing the written material will probably be disseminated in different ways into big parts of the health care system in Sweden.


Key challenges

By chance the Equality Ombudsman had a very good cooperation with the responsible staff at the National Board of Health and Welfare. Thus, the main challenge was the short amount of time (in reality) allocated to the project. The production, with the reference groups and all the meetings, had to be made in 7 months.

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

IRELAND – Primary school equality review

[/

Description

The project is to develop a method for undertaking an equality review in a primary school to enable an equality action plan for a school to be prepared. An equality review is an audit of the level of equality that exists in an organisation, business, etc. An equality action plan is a programme of actions to be undertaken in an organisation to further the promotion of equality.

Education has been identified as a priority area for the Equality Authority. The Irish equality legislation prohibits discrimination in the provision of education, and the Equality Authority has seen a high level of legal complaints concerning schools.

The project has two phases:

  • The first phase was development of a draft model or resource, under the advice of the key partners in the primary education sector. The model and resource were developed by a team consisting of four primary teachers with expertise in aspects of equality (gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, membership of the Traveller community) and with experience in a range of primary schools and roles in primary schools (classroom teacher, principal, former inspector, language support co-ordinator, etc.).
  • The second phase is testing or piloting the draft model in a small sample of schools and revising the model in light of that learning.

Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The primary duty bearer in this piece of work is primary schools. According to the equality legislation, schools must not discriminate in

  • the admission or terms or conditions of admission of a pupil,
  • the access of a pupil to any course, facility or benefit provided by the school,
  • any other term or condition of participation in the school, or
  • the expulsion of a student or the application of any sanction against a student.

The draft model and resource goes beyond these obligations in two ways. First, it seeks to examine how well the school incorporates a focus on equality in its work. Second, in addition the four areas listed above, it examines equality in

  1. school policies,
  2. school decision-making procedures,
  3. the content of the curriculum,
  4. the extra-curricular activities, and
  5. educational attainment.

A potential secondary duty bearer for this project in longer term is the Inspectorate of the Department of Education and Skills. The Equality Authority hopes that implementing the model of undertaking an equality review in a primary school can provide an evidence base for the Inspectorate to include elements of it in their systems and standards for school evaluation.

Main objective of the project

The main objective is to develop and test a model that can be applied in the future.

Tools

This project would be classified as “Engagement and provision of practical support”.

This was chosen because the purpose is to develop a model and resource that schools can engage with. In particular, it seeks to present framework for examining equality in a school that is based on how schools operate, using the Irish legal and policy framework and the curriculum for Irish primary schools, with the equality situation across those areas assessed and needs identified.

Key achievements

The key achievement is the development of a model of undertaking an equality review that is designed specifically for Irish primary schools. It takes the legal and administrative framework and the curriculum that Irish primary schools use and identifies how equality fits within those components.

Key challenges

One key challenge appears to be the understanding of equality terms and concepts. The information gathered from the piloting of the draft model and resource suggests that, for example, differences between “non-discrimination” and “equality” are not always understood, and the meaning of some of the discriminatory grounds in the Irish equality legislation was not always correctly understood. This becomes a particular challenge in measuring the situation, because people are not able or not willing to answer questions during the process without being given information on the meaning of those questions, but the act of providing that information changes the situation./]

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

SLOVAKIA – Discrimination and discriminatory practices in the field of labour law


Description

In the year 2013 Slovak National Centre for Human Rights (SNCHR) focused specifically on the field of labour law relations with a focus of identifying and clarifying discrimination and discriminatory practices in the field of labour law. Educative events laid particular emphasis on questions falling within the substantive scope of Anti-Discrimination Act – for instance forms of discrimination, reasons for prohibiting discrimination, and exemptions from the principle of equal treatment, legal obligation to adopt measures for protection against discrimination or means of legal protection in cases of discrimination.

The National Labour Inspectorate (NLI) is a government agency under the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family. Through the European Social Fund, the NLI managed to organize an expert seminar targeting its employees on topic of discrimination and equal treatment principle. The Centre lecturers were asked to cooperate and give professional lectures for employees of NLI – inspectors of labour. Courses were primarily focused on vocational education in the following fields of law: equality and non-discrimination. Topics of courses were related to regulations from labour law legislative and also to detection of discrimination in working relations.


Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

NLI controls and coordinates labour inspection in Slovakia. Labour inspection at the employers’ watches over adherence to labour law regulations, regulations on safety and health protection during labour, adherence to regulations in the field of social legislative in transport and adherence to prohibition of illegal employment and illegal labour. It also examines circumstances of accidents at work.

National Labour Inspectorate was not targeted as a duty bearer. The duty bearers that were ultimately the target of the project – employers – have a duty under the Anti-Discrimination Act not to discriminate individuals because of their sex, religion or other belief, race, nationality or ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status and family status, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin.


Main objectives of the project

Implementation of whole project will markedly improve performance of labour inspection. Continual vocational education of labour inspectors is one of the preconditions of efficient conduct of inspection. The objective of the project was to foster legal awareness of labour inspectors in the questions of discrimination and in the field of violations of Anti-Discrimination Act and to contribut to a more efficient detection of discriminatory conduct in the field of labour law. The objective of education of inspectors was to ensure that during inspection of labour they will actively influence employers in order to improve situation in monitored field and also to ensure that they would inform employers, employee representatives and employees themselves about rights and duties in the field of equal treatment in labour law relationships.


Tools

In the educational activities we combined interactive and participative education with „traditional” methods of education. Theoretical inputs were therefore combined with Professional presentations. (d, e, g).


Key achievements

The project was realized at the end of November 2013.

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

ROMANIA – “People with intellectual disabilities do have rights!”


Description

During 2011, NCCD in partnership with Institute for Public Policy, a nongovernmental organization whose aim is to support an increase the quality of the processes related to the development of public policies in Romania, carried out the project “People with intellectual disabilities do have rights!”. The project was co-financed by the European Commission PROGRESS Programme (2007-2013).

The project started with the documentation regarding the current policies and practices related to the employment of the persons with disabilities in both public and private fields of activities. After an extensive analysis of the legal framework including the text of the recently ratified UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities by the Romanian Parliament, the Institute for Public Policy (IPP) team questioned 41 big municipalities from each county council in Romania and from Bucharest, 41 General Directorates for Social Assistance from the local and Bucharest level, 13 ministries, the members of the National Council for Combating Discrimination and the ones of the Deputies Chamber and the Senate, the representatives of the Romanian Presidency and the ones of the Ministry of Labour (Directorate for Protecting Persons with Disabilities) about how many persons with disabilities have they employed, what are the tasks that were assigned to these persons, what kind of alternative solutions they adopted in the absence of persons with disabilities hired in the institution.

IPP experts also questioned a representative sample of 106 private companies and NGOs from the entire country in order to take into consideration their separate opinions about the chances that persons with disabilities have in finding a suitable job in Romania.

After the very complex documentation that was implemented in the first half of the project, the project team debated the preliminary conclusions in the format of local and national based debates after which they finalized one of the main deliverable project ‐ a comprehensive Diagnosis study. The material has been published and disseminated at the national level, by the two partners.

The experience gained during the initial activities referring to information gathering for carrying out the study on the employment environment for persons with disabilities proved to be very useful for the preparation and carrying out of the three round tables at regional level. These have been carried out in three different cities.


Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The project targets the national policy makers but also public and private employers as well as private service providers/NGOs.

The Romanian legislation sets a number of responsibilities in this respect which are applied equally to the public and private sector. Those whose employees’ number is more than 50, must either to employ a certain percentage of persons with disabilities or pay a certain amount to the overall State Budget.

They also have a duty under the Discrimination Act not to discriminate individuals because of their race, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, social category, beliefs, sex or sexual orientation, age, handicap, non contagious chronic disease, HIV infection, belonging to a disfavoured category, as well as any other criterion.


Main objectives of the project

The goal of the project was to endorse the development of coherent policies to combat discrimination and promote equality of opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities in Romania, by increasing the level of awareness of public opinion on abusive restrictions of the right to labour and self-determination of these persons, through the analysis of the current situation in our country from this perspective and identifying some tools for the relevant actors in the society (responsible authorities, NGOs active in the field of disability and human rights, employers, representatives of target groups).

Also the main objectives of this project were :

  • To provide a thorough assessment at national level of the current situation of employment of people with mental disabilities in Romania and limitations imposed by the national legislation.
  • To foster the dissemination of information on EU policy and legislation in the antidiscrimination field related to disability as well as on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that Romania ratified.
  • To advocate for changes in legislation and practices on the labour market in Romania in order to facilitate a better inclusion of people with mental disabilities.


Tools

In the first part of the project a study-diagnosis of the employment environment of persons with disabilities in Romania was made (c). On the occasion of round tables organized at regional level and in Bucharest have been initiated debates starting from the presentation of the current situation of employment of persons with disabilities, as it resulted from the study (h). Also, support‐materials were distributed on the legislation of prevention and combating of discrimination in Romania and EU, other studies and reports regarding the implementation in Romania of the EC Directives implementing the principle of equal treatment (b).

A very important component of the project has been conceiving and implementing the media campaign for raising awareness on discrimination of persons with intellectual disabilities from Romania. After completion and acceptance of the video and audio materials, the campaign was disseminated on the most important public TV and radio channels. In parallel, the video clip was popularized on the social networking websites and viewed and distributed on magnetic media on the occasion of certain NCCD’s actions or of its project partner, IPP.


Key achievements

  1. An objective and comprehensive evaluation of the situation of persons with disabilities in general and of those with intellectual disabilities from the perspective of the employment environment in Romania
    • this evaluation has emphasized the weight of persons with disabilities employed in the public sector in Romania, both within central public administration and at regional level (local)
    • the analysis carried out overviewed the current legal framework regarding the access of persons with disabilities on the labour market and formulated a series of proposals and recommendations, especially as regards to active measures to stimulate the labour market, in view of attracting persons with disabilities to employment
    • the study achieved also presents the perspective of private employers, identifying the most widespread causes why they do not employ persons with disabilities, the main reasons but also their level of appreciation regarding the legal and fiscal incentives granted by the state for the employment of such persons
  2. Conduct and implementation of a media awareness campaign among the Romanian population, regarding the rights of persons with intellectual disabilities, starting from the situations of rejection, marginalization and discrimination these persons are subjected to, taking into account their difficulties in effectively participating to the economic, social or cultural life.
  3. Identification of the main obstacles that are faced with locally both the authorities competent for enforcing legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities in general and of those with intellectual disabilities in particular and non‐governmental organizations active in this area and formulation of proposals of public and legislative policies.
  4. Inclusion, as a result of activities conducted by the project partners of certain relevant provisions in the new law of social assistance adopted by the Romanian Parliament at the end of last year, in order to harmonize this regulatory document with European and international legislation and initiation of procedures of public consultations regarding the amendment of the framework‐law on the protection of persons with disabilities.


Key challenges

The main conclusions of the round tables showed that while the nongovernmental organizations, especially those in the social field, made important steps in offering opportunities for persons with disabilities, the public sector and the private companies’ opportunities are almost inexistent. The private companies insisted that the Romanian policy makers have not taken into consideration that fee market principles when drafting the legislation while the public sector seemed not to act accountable to their constituents. The participants insisted that apart from the legislation, the best practices have a significant impact upon those with potential of offering jobs and that those practices need to be disseminated as wide as possible.

Categories
Projects for engaging duty-bearers

ROMANIA – Training of the specialists from the adoption and post-adoption departments regarding non-discrimination


Description

In time, the Romanian Law of adoptions had many and important changes , which highly affected the category of children who were going to be adopted.
During 2011 and 2012 N.C.C.D., in partnership with the Romanian Office for Adoptions, has developed this project aimed to increase the number of adoptions for the children belonging to the category of those that are hard to be adopted, by preventing discriminatory attitudes against them.

The project targeted the case managers within the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection from the metropolitan area (Bucharest and surroundings – Ilfov.)

These case managers were trained by specialists of N.C.C.D. in preventing discrimination – with a focus point on human responsibility, knowledge of the legislative and legal non-discrimination framework in Romania – information and specific examples, but they have also debated upon the concrete cases they deal with.


Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The project targeted the case managers within the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection because they are the ones who investigate the cases of children separated from their biological parents (children for whom they make an individualized protection plan, whose final purpose is the adoption).

The case managers are the binding, the connection between the biological/extended familiy, the adoptive family( the possible one), the authorities and the adopted child.
These are facing with complex situations and with very different social categories.

Regarding their obligations, from the moment a child is considered to be legally adoptable, the case managers are responsible for the adoption to take place legally, rightful, with the respect of non discrimination principle regarding the case management and final adoption.


Main objective of the project

The overall objective of the project was to inform and train the specialists who come in direct contact with children and their biological/extended family in order to respect the principle of non-discrimination. All the children who meet the legal requirement for an adoption proceeding must have the equal opportunities to benefit of it.

The specific objectives of the project were:

  • theoretical and practical knowledge regarding discrimination and adopting the estetical perspective of diversity
  • prevention of discrimination acts against children and the biological/extended family
  • reducing the intolerance level towards those categories of children with specific particularities : Roma children, older children and those with physical or mental disabilities.
  • reducing the intolerance level towards certain biological/extended families with certain characteristics: Roma families, illiterate families and families with disabilities.


Tools

The project was structured in two training modules and a final debate ( d ). Evaluation questionnaires were applied, which will be taken into consideration in the possible future projects.

We mention that the project developed in 2012 is a result of the project that took place in 2011 and of the expectations of participants.


Key achievements

The key achievements of this project were

  • A better understanding of the fundamental human rights and awareness of our own role in preventing intolerance and discrimination attitudes.
  • Increasing the number of children with completed Integrated Safety Plan which leads to an increased number of adoptions.

Indirect beneficiaries of this project:

  • About 1500 children from the protection system
  • About 1500 biological/extended family
  • Analysis of data collected and needs of further training for the General Directorate of Social Assistance and Child Protection employees.


Key challenges

The project revealed the need of a school for parents who want to adopt a child.