• Sweden's news in English

Discrimination law fells only two in 20 years

12 Feb 2013, 17:00

Published: 12 Feb 2013 17:00 GMT+01:00

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.

Story continues below…

"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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Your comments about this article

17:59 February 12, 2013 by Chuck_Norris
This is concrete proof Sweden does not have discrimination (ironic).
18:25 February 12, 2013 by TG22
This is concrete proof that these people just don't have a case...
19:09 February 12, 2013 by allnotmoney
discrimination and racism are invisible in sweden,welcome a swede smile andhave a sleepless night
20:14 February 12, 2013 by Kronaboy
The problem with the DO is she is a political appointee and the DO is staffed by civil servants who are naturally inclined towards protecting the system from criticism rather than actively pursuing firms with notoriously racist recruitment policies. Sooner we have a Swedish version of the EOC completely independent of the state which proactively seeks infringements the better. In my view the problem is ethnic minorities are politically insignificant (most foreigners don't have the vote) so there is no political motivation for tackling the problem. I have noticed that DO is far more successful in brining case of sex discrimination, presumably because they account for 50% of the electorate??
21:57 February 12, 2013 by StockholmSam
"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."

What a bunch of bullsh*t. The law was put in place to protect the little man, not to create opportunities for sweeping legislation.
23:19 February 12, 2013 by oddsock
[i]I have noticed that DO is far more successful in brining case of sex discrimination, presumably because they account for 50% of the electorate??[/i]

Yes, my office has a gender discrimination board that meets regularly but no mention is ever made of discrimination against non-ethnic Swedes. Because apparently that doesn't happen or something...
23:41 February 12, 2013 by jostein
Its not prejudice. I just prefer other swedes to foreigners, on account me being swedish. Its just nicer and more relaxed. Whether foreigners are better or worse, it really doesnt interest me, i just dont want them around me. Welcome to a multicultural society?
02:50 February 13, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
Long live jostein....Do you think you are super natural? From dust and unto dust we shall return. Even your almighty sweden.....you are a stranger.
06:56 February 13, 2013 by Kronaboy

That's fine you are entitled to run your country as you wish, however DO was created because the 2000 Directive on Discrimination required it and as long as you are member of the EU you will abide by your obligations (which also includes the prohibition of Nepotism). You racist Swedes have taken advantage of Generous payments from the EU and exported thousands of your unemployed to countries like the UK, and I for one don't see why my hard earned UK taxes should subsidise your National Socialist employment practices. If you wish to continue with your racist ways then I suggest you do so outside the EU and take back your citizens from countries like the UK, let's see how long the Chinese masters of Volvo stay in Sweden when they have lost their free access to EU, Volvo's can be produced much cheaper in Bulgaria?


Therein lies my argument, namely there is no political motivation it's a vote looser and Centre right parties are desperately trying to claw back the 50+ vote. Don't get me wrong I don't blame the current government they are simply continuing the Racist National Socialist employment practices of the Social Democrats and the Vanster parties. We have heard the frustration caused by the racist disregard of its duties by the DO in other strings, so my suggestion is if you are going to complain of race discrimination then try and bring a Sex Discrimination element, otherwise you're not going to get anywhere, unless your case has been video recorded by the pope, even the DO will accuse him of lying?
11:12 February 13, 2013 by unionisten
Whats wrong with you Kronaboy? I dont want my tax money go to BNP and I dont think i want my tax money go to a mostly homophobic party(tory) I lived in england and for you home countries dont even like each other just look at BBCs discriminiation against Scotland Wales and NI when it comes to sports.

Look how poles are treated in UK. I dont think your in any possition to dictate when sweden should do or not.
11:44 February 13, 2013 by Kronaboy

I'm sorry I'm trying to make sense of your convoluted babble, may I suggest you read a newspaper or two rather than relying on the back page of the mirror for your political views. Whilst I am no tory supporter (far from it) even I have to concede that the tory party is anything but homophobic, (whilst it's never been proven conclusively) it certainly didn't stop Edward Heath from being elected. Coming from minority background and having grown up in a 70's inner city UK ghetto, I think there is very little you can teach me about ethnic discrimination in the UK. While I have to concede direct discrimination is nowhere near the level of the UK, how much of that has to do with Swedish egalitarianism or the fact that Swedes don't speak to foreigners (or to each other for that matter) is a moot point? I any event direct discrimination is not the subject of the article, it's the disgraceful performance of DO.
12:39 February 13, 2013 by Coolbreeze

Might I suggest you stay out of the sun because a tan could result in insults (that you personally truly deserved) being directed at you from your like-minded peers. They like you cannot see beyond the skin colour and just see a foreigner
13:01 February 13, 2013 by unionisten
well it seem that I makes as much sence to you as you do to me, Torys was clearlyagainst the rights for homosexuals to marry.

Why should swedes speak to strangers?

The problem for DO is that so many cases they get its word against word or even just percived discrimination.
19:54 February 13, 2013 by Max Reaver
This news echoes harmoniously with the one on CV-name change for foreign job seekers.


This is why the employers could get away with discrimination of anybody with foreign names, because in Sweden DO is nothing but a farce! Certain people usually jump quickly into the defense in the comment sections, but since they haven't showed up yet, they must have noticed this is something nobody could justify!
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