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Equal Treatment

According to the Equal Treatment Act in its present form, nobody may be discriminated against in employment due to their gender, age, ethnicity, religion or views, or sexual orientation.

This principle of equal treatment applies to all areas of an employment relationship, from its establishment until its end, and also to other aspects of the world of work, such as careers advice. (Sexual) harassment is also considered to be discrimination.

Nobody may be discriminated against with regard to their access to goods and services due to their gender or ethnicity, also outside the world of employment.

The Legal Basis of Equal Treatment

The principles of equal treatment are laid down above all in the following laws in Austria:

  • The Federal Equal Treatment Act (GIBG) for the private sector. 
  • The Federal Act on the Equal Treatment Commission and the Equal Treatment Ombudsperson (GBK/GAW Act).
  • The Federal Act on Equal Treatment in the area of the Federal Government (Federal Equal Treatment Act for Federal Employees (civil service law).
  • The equal treatment laws of the provinces for provincial and local authority employees (civil service law).
  • The equal opportunities laws of the provinces for areas in which the provinces are responsible.

The offence of discrimination due to a disability is regulated by the Federal Disability Equality Act and is therefore not subject to the Equal Treatment Act.

Agencies Responsible for Equal Treatment

The Equal Treatment Ombudsperson (for employment relationships in the private sector and for discrimination outside work) and the Equality Officers (for the civil service) support those affected in the assertion of their right to equal treatment.

The Equality Commission deals with all issues related to discrimination and can, in particular, draw up expertises and examine individual cases.

The entitlements to compensation provided for by the law must be asserted in court.

Evaluation of the Instruments of Equal Treatment

From the end of 2014 to mid-2016, an evaluation of the instruments for the enforcement of equal treatment was carried out jointly by the then Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection and what was then the Federal Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs.

The recognitions and findings were summarised in a report which also featured the different positions of the experts regarding the individual points. For some points, ideas for improvements and further development were proposed. Even though they were largely viewed as controversial by the experts, they were included in the report.

Last update: 8 November 2019