Article | Last updated: 10/09/2019 | Ministry of Culture
Everyone must have the same rights, obligations and opportunities, irrespective of ethnic background. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act provides protection against ethnic discrimination.
Discrimination based on ethnicity, religion or belief
Everyone must have the same rights regardless of ethnicity, religion and belief. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act provides protection against these types of discrimination.
The integration of efforts to promote equality and prevent discrimination is a goal in all policy areas and at all administrative levels. The Ministry of Culture plays a coordinating role in this work. However, all the ministries have an independent responsibility to promote equality in their areas of responsibility.
The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs is responsible for following up directorate tasks relating to the prevention of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and belief.
UN Racial Discrimination Convention
The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, skin colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.
The convention was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 21 December 1965 and came into force in January 1969. Norway ratified the convention without reservation on 6 August 1970. The convention has been incorporated into Norwegian law through the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act. National implementation of the UN Racial Discrimination Convention is monitored by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is made up of independent experts.
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act came into force on 1 January 2018. It prohibits direct and indirect discrimination based on factors such as ethnicity (including national origin, descent, skin colour and language), religion and belief. The purpose of the act is to promote equality, ensure equal opportunities and rights, and prevent discrimination. The act applies in all areas of society, but is not enforced in the context of family life and other personal relationships. Employers must make active, targeted and systematic efforts to promote equality and prevent discrimination in their undertakings. In addition, they must report on implemented and planned equality measures (the activity and reporting duties). Public authorities also have an activity duty in their areas of responsibility.
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud is mandated to promote equality and combat discrimination on the basis of, among other things, gender, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation and age.
The Ombud gives advice and is a driving force for equality and diversity. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal enforces the statutory prohibitions against discrimination. Contact the Ombud and the Tribunal.
In June 2019, the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) decided to authorise the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to enforce the prohibition against sexual harassment in the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act, and to award compensation in cases concerning work-related sexual harassment and certain other instances.
Duty to promote equality actively
The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act contains rules on the duty of employers, public authorities and organisations in working life to promote equality actively.
The purpose of the duty to promote equality actively is to raise awareness through ongoing activities within an organisation, and thereby to prevent discriminatory practices and organisational structures.
The activity duty of employers applies in areas such as recruitment, pay and working conditions, promotion, development opportunities and protection against harassment. While the duty does not prescribe specific measures, public-sector employers and private-sector employers with more than 50 employees are required to follow a four-step methodology. It is up to each undertaking to decide which measures are relevant in view of its own individual challenges. Employers have to report on implemented and planned measures in their annual report or annual budget.
In June 2019, the Storting decided to reinforce the activity and reporting duties of employers. Following the statutory amendment, the duties of employers are now specified in greater detail. The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud and the three regional centres for equality and diversity play an important role in providing advice and guidance on the activity and reporting duties.