Employment discrimination: self-regulation must come before ‘mystery calls’

Prior to implementing a system of ‘mystery calls’ to detect employment discrimination cases, a system of self-regulation must be effected across all sectors. The deputy, Vincent Van Quickenborne of the Open VLD, said this yesterday (Tuesday).

He was reacting to the announcement by the Employment Minister, Kris Peeters (CD&V), of a bill on this issue, which Peeters and his department have prepared.

By law, social inspectors should currently identify themselves during their investigations. Kris Peeters wishes to make an exception to this rule, so that such inspectors are able to apply for a job using using a fictitious profile, thereby fulfilling a monitoring function in discrimination cases.

This allows them to compile material evidence about employers using discriminatory behaviour, and send such evidence to the prosecuting authorities.

Open Vld has been quite open about exhibiting a particular over-cautiousness as regards this mechanism.

The mechanism comes back to the resolution adopted by the majority parties in parliament during 2015, which anticipates that all sectors should, first and foremost, implement a self-regulation mechanism.

‘Mystery calls’ are indeed a vital cornerstone of this system. They may be set in motion in the event that an employer remains intransigent, despite the social inspector's awareness of its behaviour at a given moment in time.

Vincent Van Quickenborne stressed that, “For now, only interim employment and service voucher-related sectors are affected by self-regulation.”

He commented, “We will, of course, study the bill, but our reading of it at the moment is that Kris Peeters is seeking to run in parallel a system of self-regulation and ‘mystery calls.’ This does not correspond to the thinking behind the original [2015] resolution.”

The Brussels Times

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