Discrimination and equal treatment

Unjustified discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender, nationality or sexual orientation is against the law in the Netherlands.

Disabled and chronically sick employees are also protected against unequal treatment. Within an employment agreement there are even more prohibitions against discrimination. For example, employers are not allowed to make any distinction between full-time and part-time employees.

Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace is a very common problem. Often the employer is not even aware that discrimination is not permitted. Unequal treatment may occur in all sorts of employment conditions, such as pensions, reimbursement of travel expenses, bonus policies, holidays, career development, working conditions and dismissal. Discrimination is also prohibited during the application stage.

Objective justification

In some cases, employees may be treated differently in the workplace. This is only possible if there is a legally permitted reason for the unequal treatment. When this is in doubt, we advise the employer to have an assessment carried out in advance to see whether making a distinction in the specific case is permitted.

Netherlands Institute for Human Rights

Treating employees differently without objective grounds for justifying it is not permitted. If this occurs, the employee can demand that the employer ceases the discriminatory behaviour. If the parties cannot agree upon a solution between themselves, legal proceedings are inevitable. The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights can make a judgment about the alleged discrimination. These judgments are publicly posted on the Institute’s website and can result in a great deal of negative publicity. In addition, the case can be taken to court and there may be a demand for compensation.

More information

GMW lawyers will be happy to help you with all your employment-related legal issues. If you have any questions, please contact us directly using the enquiry form below or +31 (0)70 3615048. Our pension and employment lawyers will be happy to support and advise you.

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