The Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud was established 1 January 2006. The Ombud contributes to the promotion of equal opportunity and fights discrimination. The Ombud combats discrimination based on gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability and age. The Ombud upholds the law and acts as a proactive agent for equal opportunity throughout society.
The Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud enforces the following acts:
- The Gender Equality Act.
- The Act on Prohibition of Discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion etc. (the Discrimination Act).
- The regulations regarding equal treatment provided in the Labour Environment Act.
- The anti-discrimination regulations provided in the housing legislation.
A person who claims to have been discriminated may file a complaint, whereupon the Ombud will render a decision. The Ombud also provides for general legal counselling and guidance regarding matters of discrimination. Decisions by the Ombud may be appealed to the Equality an Anti-discrimination Board of Appeals. The Board may impose moratorium fines to those who do not abide by the Boards decision.
The promotion of equality means also pointing towards societal injustice. Some of the tasks of the Equality and Antidiscrimination Ombud include:
- Identifying and publicizing conditions that obstruct equal opportunity and equal treatment.
- Contributing to the awareness and the infl uencing of attitudes and behaviour.
- Providing information, support and guidance for the promotion of equal opportunity and the combat of discrimination.
- Providing public and private sector employers with counselling and guidance on the matter of ethnic diversity in the employment sector.
- Recording the different forms and the extent of discrimination, as well as providing information and contributing to the development of expertise.
- Serving as a forum and an information centre in order to promote the co-operation between different agents.
Who may apply to the Equality and Antidiscrimination Ombud?
Everyone may apply to the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud. The Ombud provides information material and provides for support and guidance to employers, the authorities, organisations and others who seek advice concerning equal opportunity and discrimination.