Brussels strengthens measures against hiring discrimination

Brussels strengthens measures against hiring discrimination
Credit: Belga

Tests to detect hiring discrimination may now be carried out in Brussels on the basis of reports, complaints or sufficient presumption, without requiring prior agreement by a magistrate, as had been the case until now.

The Brussels parliament gave the green light on Wednesday by a large majority to a draft ordinance to this effect, proposed by Employment Minister Bernard Clerfayt. The text aims to simplify the implementation of these tests in order to strengthen the fight against discrimination.

A first ordinance passed in 2017 proved to be of little use in practice. The new bill proposes simpler, more proactive tests, on-site testing, stronger protection for inspectors, and increased collaboration with Actiris, the regional employment agency.

Since the Federal Government has also legislated on the issue since 2017, the new ordinance can only be applied in matters within the purview of the region. Still, the list is relatively long.

The region will be able to intervene with employers who apply to Actiris to hire workers, employers in the social economy, the regional or local civil service, service vouchers and temporary employment. It also concerns those who hire or refuse to hire a worker subject to a work permit, and those who wish to hire a worker via local employment agencies.

Clerfayt stressed that the ordinance, although it limits the region's competence, reflects "the will shared with the Federal Government to build information exchange and agreement protocols between regional and federal inspection services."

It also reflects "the will, with Federal Employment Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne, to conclude a cooperation agreement to be able to fight hand in hand against discrimination on the basis of the increased number of existing reports,” Clerfayt added.

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