Racism in the workplace remains a problem in Belgium

Unia, Belgium's Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, opened 670 files based on "racial" criteria in 2023. Just under a third of these are related to the labour market, the centre reported in a press release on Tuesday.

Of the 200 files opened by Unia relating to the workplace, about half are about problems in labour relations, which often involve harassment. A quarter of the total number of files fall into the "living together" category, while 15 per cent are related to the "goods and services" category: discrimination in renting, public transport and trade.

Active solutions

To combat discrimination in the workplace, Unia advocates a more active approach. It calls for the strengthening of labour inspectorates, the introduction of a compulsory prevention policy and the establishment of an internal reporting procedure to enable employers to intervene quickly and appropriately.

"For example, we recommend the use of data mining and algorithms that systematically search company databases for behaviour that could indicate discriminatory practices," says director Els Keytsman. This includes comparing the composition of a company's workforce with the average for the sector.

"On the basis of the information gathered, the competent inspectorates could carry out more targeted checks on their own initiative within a sector where discrimination is suspected," says Keytsman.



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