Safe and Equal: Non-discrimination and Diversity Management in Employment
Partners: ŠKUC-LL (Slovenia), LABRIS (Serbia) and GAYTEN LGBT (Serbia)
Contracting Authority: Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia
The 24-months project »Safe and Equal: Non-discrimination and Diversity Management in Employment« is cooperation among Slovenian and Serbian partners. The period of implementation is in years 2014 and 2015. The action encompasses promotion of cultural diversity and capacity building of community based organisations for advancing the rights of discriminated groups and to provide services also in less developed Serbian regions. The project is relevant to several EU instrument for the promotion and consolidation of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedom.
The weak implementation of anti- discrimination measures and the lack of integral approach to equal opportunities are main reasons why different vulnerable groups in employment are still exposed to discrimination. During the global economy crisis employers introduce financial restrictions, which make vulnerable and minority groups even less competitive, and equal opportunities less accessible to all. Main obstacle for struggle against discrimination in employment is stigmatization of minorities and vulnerable groups and prejudices on how e.g. disabled, Roma, older people, young people, migrants, LGBT people, women are less reliable, motivated or efficient workers, but rather connected to higher business risk, even loss. Many workers and employment seekers are confronted with the burden of prejudices and stereotypes, which are an obstacle on their way to equality. However it seems that in spite of protective legislation the basic prejudices remain; deeply rooted in mentality of people and traditional ideology, prejudices are hard to overcome. But once they are, it is for good. To challenge intolerance, stereotypes and negative thinking, early education and awareness-raising is crucial. Therefore we developed the idea of educational pilot project focused on introducing new measures for equal opportunities and to exchange Slovenian good practice and innovative method for diversity management and anti-discrimination with Serbian partners. The project includes trainings of trainers in this important area, and as well identification and analysis of good practice from EU and the region. We are focusing on human rights CSOs, because they have vivid interest and real potential to change the mentality of people and to make them learn new ideas. Simultaneously we intend to conduct a national media campaign for awareness-raising of decision/policy makers, social partners and general public. Our aim is active promotion of equal opportunities in employment and labour market.
The project promotes gender mainstreaming as a horizontal priority of EU policies in all areas of life and work. Adequately, the needs of disabled people are respected in all segments of the project (disability users’ friendly website, accessible venues, services). The relevance of the action is in line with implementation of the European Employment Strategy: improvement of the working environment and conditions, including health and safety at work, reconciling work and family life, effective implementation of the principle of non-discrimination.
Project is supported by the European Commission, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia (EU Civil Society Facility Serbia Programme).
The information contained does not necessary reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.
Self-Organisation of Vulnerable Groups within Trade Unions
The Diversity management in employment project is a response to the failure to implement (or fully implement) existing law and equal opportunity measures on Slovenia's job market, which results in:
multiple forms of discrimination going unrecognized;
inability to combat discrimination and introduce preventive measures.
This phenomenon remains invisible, and statistics are lacking due to victims' remaining silent and employers' failing to recognize discrimination. Existing antidiscrimination legislation is useless if not implemented. The project aims to increase awareness and to train trade unions and employers on:
- the destructive impact of discrimination, whatever the type, in employment;
- efficient measures for recognizing and combating it;
- techniques to raise awareness inform and empower victims of discrimination.
The second major target group is the general public. Project activities include:
- the development of a handbook with guidelines for introducing diversity management and equal opportunities policy in employment for trade unions/employers;
- training employers and unions in implementing diversity management;
- awareness-raising campaign for general public.
Other goals are the development of a method for managing diversityin employment, to prevent and combat inequality and discrimination. In a wider sense, the project aims to raise the awareness of all stakeholders:
- trade unions
- state employment offices
- employment agencies
- government equality bodies
- labour courts and labour inspectors
- general public
- private citizens
Diversity management in employment is a joint project, which includes nongovernmental association for human rights ŠKUC-LL, Association of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS) and Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS) in order to encourage social partners to adapt and implement diversity management in there work frame.
Human diversity, which too often causes conflicts and generates inequality and discrimination, can on the other side become a powerful source of creative employment. A diverse workforce is one with different perspectives and different ideas. Public authorities and private companies serve and address people with a wide range of backgrounds. By reflecting diversity in their own workforce they are better equipped to understand their needs. Diversity makes a business sense. According to several EU surveys, it can be stressed that diversity can bring huge benefits in employment. Companies are increasingly recognizing that diversity is not just a moral argument or a question of meeting legal obligations. In a 2005 European Commission report, 83% of companies with a diversity policy in place said that it had brought real business benefits.
In Slovenia as elsewhere there is a considerable problem of ignorance and non- recognition of equal opportunities and diversity policies in employment. Discrimination in employment remains un-tackled, un-documented and statistically underrepresented. Proactive role of social partners in this context is therefore crucial. It is essential that both the employers and trade unions become aware that discrimination is destructive and dangerous; it is harmful for the health of workers, their social and economic security, it pollutes the working environment, lowers productivity rates and brings economic damage.