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EQUAL TREATMENT COMMISSION
AUSTRIA

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Background
Structure and internal organisation of the specialised body
Functions of the Equal Treatment Commission
Complaints procedure
CONTACT

Background 

The legislative basis of Austria’s Equal Treatment Commission is the amended Equal Treatment Act, BGBl. Nr. 66/2004, which came into force on 1 July 2004. The specialised bodies provided for in this legal act are the Equal Treatment Commission and the Office for Equal Opportunities. The chairperson of the Equal Treatment Commission and his/her substitute are independent in their functions.
The Equal Treatment Act covers provisions against discrimination on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin in employment and occupation, such as:

and in areas other than employment and occupation, such as:

Structure and internal organisation of the specialised body  

From 1979, the Equal Treatment Commission dealt with gender discrimination in employment and occupation, until its mandate was extended on 1 July 2004. It now comprises three sections, each covering a different area. The first section is responsible for the equal treatment of women and men in employment and occupation, the second for equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation in employment and occupation and the third for equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin in areas other than employment and occupation. The Equal Treatment Commission is situated at the Federal Ministry for Health and Women’s Issues and consists of representatives of the social partners (organisations of workers and employers) and of ministries. The chairperson of the Commission has to be a civil servant.

Functions of the Equal Treatment Commission 

The main tasks of the Equal Treatment Commission in the areas mentioned above are to draw up expert opinions, surveys and recommendations. The Commission is mandated to propose expert opinions on general questions and examine the existence of discrimination in individual cases. The Equal Treatment Commission is a conciliation board and it may help parties to achieve an agreement as rapidly and unbureaucratically as possible. However, its rulings have no binding effect on the courts.

Complaints procedure  

The Equal Treatment Commission deals with all issues concerning discrimination according to the Equal Treatment Act. The law provides for two different procedures, according to the nature of the issue:

With regard to antidiscrimination legislation and policy, the Commission has to publish its findings on questions of violations of the Equal Treatment Act. This concerns in particular rulings on collective acts of law (collective agreements, company agreements), when these are requested by one of the interest groups represented in the Commission or by the Office for Equal Opportunities.

With regard to individual cases, the Commission has to consider, on the request of an employee, an employer, a works’ council or one of the interest groups represented in the Commission, whether there is a violation of the Equal Treatment Act or not. If the Commission concludes in an individual case that there is a violation of the Equal Treatment Act, it provides the employer with a written suggestion for achieving equal treatment and calls on it to end discrimination. In the case of non-compliance with this request, any of the interest groups represented in the Commission can take legal action based on the Equal Treatment Act.

CONTACT 

Equal Treatment Commission
Gleichbehandlungskommission
Bundesministerium fr Gesundheit und Frauen
Radetzkystrasse 2
A-1030 WIEN
Tel: +43 1 711 00 0
Fax: +43 1 711 00 143 00
E-mail: buergerservice@bmgf.gv.at
Web site: www.bmgf.gv.at