De Sociale Werking Van Gelijke-Behandelingswetgeving [How Does the Dutch Equal Treatment Act Work?]

Recht der Werkelijkheid 2000/2, 1-23.

24 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2016

See all articles by Tetty Havinga

Tetty Havinga

Radboud University

Anita Böcker

Radboud University

Kees Groenendijk

Radboud University Nijmegen - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

Dutch Abstract: Dit artikel bevat de belangrijkste bevindingen van een onderzoek naar de manier waarop de Algemene Wet Gelijke Behandeling (AWGB) en de bepalingen over gelijke behandeling in enkele andere wetten in de praktijk functioneren. We hanteerden daarbij een benadering die aansluit bij wat John Griffiths heeft genoemd ‘de sociale werking van recht’. Onder sociale werking van wetgeving wordt verstaan de maatschappelijke betekenis van een wet, met andere woorden, de plaats die een wet in het maatschappelijk leven inneemt. Het gaat daarbij niet om de instrumentele effectiviteitsvraag, d.w.z., de vraag of de bedoelingen van de wetgever worden gere¬aliseerd. Het gaat daarentegen om de vraag welke rol de wetgeving speelt binnen bepaalde sociale velden of binnen bepaalde maatschappelijke sectoren naast allerlei andere factoren die van be¬lang zijn bij het handelen. De aandacht wordt geconcentreerd op die segmenten van de samenleving waar de wet merkbaar zou moeten zijn. We gaan in op de sociale werking van de gelijke-behandelingswetgeving en op een aantal factoren die van invloed zijn op deze sociale werking.

English Abstract: This article presents results of an empirical research on the working of Dutch anti-discrimination law. Almost everyone we interviewed agreed to the principle of equal treatment. Acceptance in the Netherlands of equal treatment is very high. Nevertheless, the general social working of the anti-discrimination legislation is limited. In particular situations and in some branches of industry, application of the Act gives rise to problems or the Act is neglected altogether. It is hard to isolate the general effects of the Equal Treatment Act from other relevant factors, like the rising education of women and ethnic minorities, growing number of part-time workers, changing patterns in family life, increasing shortages in labor, and the growing duration of residence in the Netherlands of immigrants. Probably the general effects of the anti-discrimination legislation are rather limited and supporting existing social processes of emancipation.

The general effects of the legislation may be indirect. Publicity on the legislation, the Commission and judgments by the Commission may contribute to the social acceptance of the norm of equal treatment and the idea that discrimination should not be allowed. In the long run, these ideas will ooze through in for instance personnel management without actors perceiving this as an effect of the legislation. This diffuse effects are hard to demonstrate however.

The special social working is concentrated in the few hundred cases the Equal Treatment Commission deals with every year. Discrimination is not always recognized as such and it is very hard for an employee and even for a trade union or works council to challenge discrimination by the employer or colleagues.

The limited working of the legislation is explained by the choice of the legislator to let victims enforce the law, the rather passive attitude of the Equal Treatment Commission and the limited actions undertaken by interest organizations of the beneficiaries. Only anti-discrimination bureaus regard it as part of their task to enforce compliance with anti-discrimination legislation. Despite the extensive legal protection against discrimination, some discriminatory practices are persistent.

Note: Downloadable document is in Dutch.

Keywords: equal opportunity law, anti discrimination law, effectivity, evaluation

Suggested Citation

Havinga, Tetty and Böcker, Anita and Groenendijk, Kees, De Sociale Werking Van Gelijke-Behandelingswetgeving [How Does the Dutch Equal Treatment Act Work?] (2000). Recht der Werkelijkheid 2000/2, 1-23. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2718095

Tetty Havinga (Contact Author)

Radboud University ( email )

PO Box 9049
Nijmegen, NL 6500 KK
Netherlands
+31-24-3615915 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ru.nl/law/havinga

Anita Böcker

Radboud University ( email )

Nijmegen, 6500 KK
Netherlands

Kees Groenendijk

Radboud University Nijmegen - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 9102
6500 KK Nijmegen
Netherlands

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