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Discrimination law fells only two in 20 years

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17:00 CET+01:00
Only two people have managed to bring an employer to justice for ethnic discrimination at work, despite the introduction of a Swedish law in 1994 aimed at helping those who fell victim to prejudice.

Hundreds of employers have been reported in Sweden on the grounds of workplace discrimination, yet the complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Only two employers have been convicted by the Swedish Labour Court (Arbetsdomstolen, AD) since the law was introduced in 1994, reports the Dagens Arbete (DA) newspaper.

Between 2006 and 2011, there were 72 cases reported from within the industrial sector alone, however none of these made it to the Labour Court. Only eight of the cases resulted in a negotiated settlement.

Some of the employees affected, meanwhile, have been left seething at the ethnic discrimination that they feel is even harder to swallow than direct racism.

"If you hear someone in a bar yelling 'blackie' then it's in some way easier to take," Arman Bolourian, who was refused a job at ABB Machine, told the paper.

He was given the boot by his employer at the very end of a four-month recruitment process, despite having the right education and experience for the job. The boss had explained that he didn't fit in with the group.

Annika Höög, a case officer at Sweden's Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO), said she regretted that the system doesn't appear to help the people lodging complaints.

"It's sad if it seems that you can't win," she told the paper.

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"It's not that we think it's hopeless to take on ethnic discrimination cases, rather that we choose to investigate those that we think can set a precedent, or those that illustrate bigger societal problem."

TT/The Local/og

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