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02 October 2019
The Board of Equal Treatment recently found that an amendment to a university lecturer's homeworking agreement and her subsequent termination did not conflict with the Anti-discrimination Act, as the lecturer had failed to establish a presumption of discrimination on the grounds of ethnic or national origin.
Ethnic and national origin are protected criteria under the Anti-discrimination Act. This means that an employee is protected from, for example, dismissal on the grounds of ethnic or national origin. However, it is up to employees to prove facts that create a presumption of discrimination. This was the issue before the Board of Equal Treatment in the above case.
The case concerned a lecturer of German origin who was employed by a Danish university. The lecturer had been resident in Denmark at the start of the employment relationship but had since moved back to Germany. She therefore had a special agreement with the university that allowed her to work from home in Germany three days a week.
Following cutbacks and a reduction in staff, faculty management emphasised that staff had a duty to be present during working hours. In future, employees who wished to work more than one day a week from home had to agree this with their direct manager.
As a result, the German-resident lecturer was given notice of termination of her homeworking agreement.
However, she did not accept the amendment and her employment was terminated. The lecturer subsequently complained to the Board of Equal Treatment, alleging discrimination on the grounds of ethnic or national origin.
The Board of Equal Treatment found that the workplace attendance requirement had affected all employees regardless of their ethnic or national origin and that the requirement had not been enforced in a less favourable way for the lecturer than for other employees. It was a neutral requirement that had not disadvantaged people of a particular ethnic or national origin.
The board concluded that the lecturer had thus failed to establish any facts indicating that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of national or ethnic origin.
The Board of Equal Treatment held that there had been no indirect discrimination against the lecturer on the grounds of her national or ethnic origin, as it was her choice of residence rather than her ethnic or national origin that had given rise to the situation that led to the termination of her employment relationship.
For further information on this topic please contact Sara Baldus at Norrbom Vinding by telephone (+43 35 25 3940) or email (email@example.com). The Norrbom Vinding website can be accessed at norrbomvinding.com.
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