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Blame and shame – New proposals in the Netherlands to tackle discrimination in hiring

The State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands, Tamara van Ark, has put forward a new legal amendment proposing that the government fine employers that discriminate in hiring. The amendment proposes using a ‘blame and shame’ strategy to discourage employment discrimination. Employers found to violate the rules would risk fines of up to €4,500 per case, and their misconduct would be made public.

If the proposal passes, it would be the first time that such coercive measures are used in the Netherlands against discrimination in the labour market. The fines would apply in the case of discrimination against individual job applicants as well as cases where the hiring procedure is discriminatory or leads to the exclusion of (minority) groups (i.e. indirect discrimination).

Furthermore, organisations that do not put in place rules and procedures to prevent discrimination might face fines as well. Employers must describe in their vacancies the recruitment and selection process and how discrimination would be prevented. Organisations would first receive a warning for failure to comply with these requirements. If the warning is ignored, a fine can be imposed and made public.

The new law would apply to company vacancies as well as in recruiting for temporary employment agencies or other intermediaries. Read more