Employer penalised for refusing to offer the post of “Administrative Assistant” to man
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    Employer penalised for refusing to offer the post of “Administrative Assistant” to man

    An employer was penalised on November 9th by the Brussels Employment Tribunal for discrimination on the basis of sex. The Institute for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (known as the “IEFH”) stated this in a communiqué. When publicising the job advert for an “Administrative Assistant”, it feminised all qualifications required in the job description (“disciplined”, and “organised” amongst others). It refused a candidate the job on account of being a man.

    The IEFH says it is the first time that an employer has been penalised for discrimination in relation to a job advert or recruitment.

    The IEFH indicated that the employer rejected the male candidate as it sought “as the advert stated, a female Administrative Assistant.” The candidate wanted the job and the Institute tried, in vain, to find a solution during mediation. The candidate then took legal proceedings.

    On November 9th, the Brussels Employment Tribunal penalised the employer for sex discrimination in the sphere of access to employment. It was ordered to pay damages to the victim of up to 5,308.59 euros, or three months gross salary, and the IEFH to the tune of one euro, a so-called symbolic euro.

    Liesbet Stevens, the IEFH’s Deputy DIrector says, “From the information we have to hand, it is the first time that a tribunal has penalised an employer following discrimination in relation to a job advert or recruitment.”

    Michel Pasteel, the Director of the IEFH says, in the communiqué, “All too often the candidate’s sex…is perceived as a reflection of their ability to do the job in question…. We have observed, amongst some employers, the conviction that a man or a woman is more or less appropriate for a particular role.”

    The IEFH states, employment is the sphere in which all of the forms of discrimination are most common. More than a third of cases (37%) are linked to recruitment and selection. The IEFH concludes, women are the main victims, but men are also affected, as this case shows.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times