Czech Trade Inspection Authority finds 19 cases of discrimination, five against Roma
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CTIA) has announced that it discovered 19 cases of consumer discrimination during its monitoring in the first half of this year. In addition to discrimination against Romani people, inspectors also found problems with behavior toward Russians.
A total of 690 inspections were performed during the first six months of the year and discovered violations of other legal obligations besides the ban on discrimination in 365 establishments. The total amount of fines levied against these violations is CZK 705 000, of which two of the fines for discrimination totaled CZK 470 000.
Real estate brokers imposed restrictive conditions regarding Romani people in four cases, and in one case retailers forbade Romani customers from entering an establishment. Two cases concerned Russian tourists; operators of accommodation facilities refused them service because of the situation in Ukraine.
"Today, discrimination against Romani people living in socially excluded localities is unfortunately an ordinary part of their lives. This primarily occurs in housing, jobs, and access to entertainment facilities or other businesses. We have an Anti-Discrimination Act, but only on paper. In practice its fulfillment doesn't work. Most Romani people do not know how to defend themselves or are afraid of the authorities, and there are very few civil society services available to help them with this," František Kostlán, vice-chair of the Czech Helsinki Committee, told news server Romea.cz.
"Discriminatory behavior in particular is an ongoing problem, some businesses commit this against visitors from abroad, whether it has to do with service surcharges or charging customers twice for the same service. They are ruining the good name of all honest businesspeople here and the global reputation of the Czech Republic," said CTIA director Mojmír Bezecný, whose inspectors discovered six such cases during the first half of the year.
Age discrimination was proven in four cases. Those concerned preventing persons younger than 18 from attending events or establishing age ranges for providing consumer loans.
Suspicions of some form of discrimination were proven in 2.8 % of all inspections. The CTIA says those results confirm that discriminatory behavior by commercial enterprises is not a frequent occurrence in the Czech market.
However, inspectors will not tolerate such behavior and will continue to pay increased attention to it. Most of the discriminatory cases were found by the CTIA in the capital and in the Central Bohemian Region (seven total), followed by the Liberec and Ústí Regions (a total of four).
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