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Anti-discrimination measures in the workplace

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Legal news
calendar 26 February 2023
globus Sweden

Companies must take active measures to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Active measures also serve to promote equal rights and opportunities. Examples of active measures include training to prevent sexual harassment and conducting annual pay surveys. Working with active measures is not a quick fix but must be carried out on a day-to-day basis.

In Sweden, the Discrimination Act means that all companies must work continuously with active measures. Companies with at least 25 employees are also required to document all elements of the active measures. Documentation must, among other things, include a report assessing the active measures in four steps and a report on how the employees have been included in the work.

Five areas, four steps

Active measures have to be carried out within the following five areas:

  • Working conditions
  • Pay and other terms of employment
  • Recruitment and promotion
  • Education and training
  • Balancing parenthood and work-life   

When working with the measures, companies must apply a four-step approach by:

  • Conducting investigations to identify risks for discrimination, unequal treatment, etc.
  • Analysing the reasons
  • Taking measures to eliminate identified risks and obstacles
  • Monitoring and evaluating the work

In addition, companies must also promote an even gender balance, for example through educational measures. Companies are also required to establish guidelines and routines against harassment, sexual harassment and retaliation. The guidelines and routines must clarify both that discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable and how misbehaviour is to be handled.

Examples of other requirements include that all companies must conduct an annual pay survey. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate if there are differences in pay between men and women doing the same, or similar, work and, if so, whether the differences are related to gender. Companies with ten or more employees must document this survey. 

IUNO’s opinion

The Swedish Discrimination Act sets high standards for companies to work actively with preventive and promotive measures. Since working with active measures is a daily task, it is not enough to draft a document, such as a discrimination policy, to fulfil the requirements.

IUNO recommends that companies stay up to date with the applicable requirements on preventive and promoting measures. Even if the documentation requirement only applies to companies with at least 25 employees, it can be wise for all companies to document the work to ensure that all parts are implemented. 

[The Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567)]

In Sweden, the Discrimination Act means that all companies must work continuously with active measures. Companies with at least 25 employees are also required to document all elements of the active measures. Documentation must, among other things, include a report assessing the active measures in four steps and a report on how the employees have been included in the work.

Five areas, four steps

Active measures have to be carried out within the following five areas:

  • Working conditions
  • Pay and other terms of employment
  • Recruitment and promotion
  • Education and training
  • Balancing parenthood and work-life   

When working with the measures, companies must apply a four-step approach by:

  • Conducting investigations to identify risks for discrimination, unequal treatment, etc.
  • Analysing the reasons
  • Taking measures to eliminate identified risks and obstacles
  • Monitoring and evaluating the work

In addition, companies must also promote an even gender balance, for example through educational measures. Companies are also required to establish guidelines and routines against harassment, sexual harassment and retaliation. The guidelines and routines must clarify both that discriminatory behaviour is unacceptable and how misbehaviour is to be handled.

Examples of other requirements include that all companies must conduct an annual pay survey. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate if there are differences in pay between men and women doing the same, or similar, work and, if so, whether the differences are related to gender. Companies with ten or more employees must document this survey. 

IUNO’s opinion

The Swedish Discrimination Act sets high standards for companies to work actively with preventive and promotive measures. Since working with active measures is a daily task, it is not enough to draft a document, such as a discrimination policy, to fulfil the requirements.

IUNO recommends that companies stay up to date with the applicable requirements on preventive and promoting measures. Even if the documentation requirement only applies to companies with at least 25 employees, it can be wise for all companies to document the work to ensure that all parts are implemented. 

[The Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567)]

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Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

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The team

Alexandra

Jensen

Legal advisor

Anders

Etgen Reitz

Partner

Caroline

Thorsen

Junior legal assistant

Cecillie

Groth Henriksen

Senior associate

Johan

Gustav Dein

Associate

Julie

Meyer

Senior legal assistant

Kirsten

Astrup

Managing associate (on leave)

Maria

Kjærsgaard Juhl

Legal advisor

Rikke

Grønlund Holm

Senior associate

Sofie

Aurora Braut Bache

Managing associate

Søren

Hessellund Klausen

Partner