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Discrimination is a pejorative, discriminatory, ostracizing or illegitimate unequal treatment.

To be classified as discrimination, it is unimportant whether something is done intentionally and with purpose or is the result of unconscious attitudes or behavior. Cases of discrimination are not always obvious, but subtle incidences in everyday life that are not immediately recognizable or detectable for those affected.

The starting point of any discrimination can be an assessment of people based on actual or attributed group-specific characteristics.

Forms of discrimination

People are excluded or disadvantaged owing to

racist attributions regarding their appearance, their (supposed) origin, their name, their residence status or proficiency in the German language (everyday / racism, hostility towards migrants / refugees, ...),

• their (supposed) religious or political views (anti-Semitism, Muslim hostility, political persecution, ...),

• their gender or expression of gender or gender / gender performance (sexism, misogyny, hostility towards transgender persons, cissexism, hostility to intersexuals, ...),

• their sexual orientation or sexual identity (heterosexism, homophobia, hostility towards lesbians, ...),

hostility towards disabled persons (lack of free access, disregard or derogation of their physical and / or mental capacity or physical appearance, ...),

• their age (animosity towards old-aged persons, derogation and marginalization of younger persons, ...),

• their social class, their family or educational background, their place of residence, their language, their status as unemployed or recipients of social security (classism, social exclusion, language discrimination, derogation and hostility towards the long-term unemployed,…).

Multiple Discrimination and Intersectionality

Often, people are discriminated against not just for one feature, but for their alleged affiliation with certain social groups.

For example:

A Black woman / woman of color experiences discrimination in her day-to-day work because of her appearance, her (assumed) migration history and her gender.

A student who has a language disability and whose native language is Spanish, often has the impression that his or her knowledge and achievements are taken less seriously than their fellow students.

It is not always clear to the person concerned against which characteristic the discrimination is aimed. Different forms of discrimination can overlap and reinforce each other and lead to multiple discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of several factors not only add up, but can also create new specific forms of discrimination. We reject a hierarchical evaluation of different forms of discrimination (X is worse than Y).

General Equal Treatment Act (GET)

The aim of the GET is to prevent or eliminate discrimination on grounds of origin, appearance or language, gender, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual identity.

The focus of the GET is protection against discrimination in employment and work. In addition to a ban on discrimination under labor law, measures and obligations on the part of employers to protect against disadvantage and uphold the rights of employees (right to complain, right to refuse work) and their claims are regulated in case of violations against the prohibition of discrimination (compensation, damages).

In addition, GET contains provisions for the protection against discrimination in civil law, collective actions, and private-law insurance.

The GET defines discrimination as:

• direct disadvantage,

• indirect disadvantage (for example by regulations),

• harassment (for example, by the creation of a hostile environment)

• and sexual harassment.