Czech Labor Inspection discovers highest numbers of discriminatory want ads in four years
News server iRozhlas.cz reports that despite very low unemployment levels, the State Office of Labor Inspection in the Czech Republic has reported a record-high number of discriminatory want ads in which employers a priori exclude either foreign nationals or Romani people from applying. The number of such ads was the highest it has been since 2014.
Previously it was typical that job-seekers learned a potential employer did not want Romani applicants during personal interviews. The same situation has applied to Romani people seeking apartments.
Currently, job advertisements are being published more frequently that directly include the information that Romani applicants will have no chance of securing an interview. The Labor Inspection can fine employers that commit such discrimination amounts on the order of tens of thousands of Czech crowns.
According to information reported by Czech Radio, inspectors discovered a total of 123 cases of discrimination and unequal treatment during hiring processes last year. That is the highest number of cases in four years.
"Among other matters this involved hiring procedures, but most frequently it concerned want ads that were worded defectively," Czech Radio reported. Richard Kolibač, spokesperson for the Labor Inspection, described the findings as follows: "Employers advertise a certain position, for example, a salesclerk, assistant, food server, mason, and in the advertisement itself they say they are looking for a woman, or a man, or a pensioner, or that they are not interested in employing somebody of Romani origin. What is surprising is that this also includes advertisements for positions in middle management, IT specialists, or for executive director positions."
After inspectors contacted the employers about the want ads, most corrected the wording or removed the ads from circulation altogether. Some employers, however, have argued that the wording is important because they best know whom they need to hire, according to Kolibač.
Discrimination most frequent on the basis of ethnicity, sexual orientation, age
Inspectors also investigated cases of discrimination that happen directly in the workplace. They found 115 such offenses last year.
Some employees, for example, were not paid the same wages for comparable work as others. Inspectors also addressed a case of bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and a case of age discrimination.
Complaints about discrimination in the context of employment are also addressed by the Office of the Public Defender of Rights (the ombudsperson). Last year that office received more than 100 such complaints.
Ombudsperson Anna Šabatová said that compared to last year the number of such complaints has slightly declined. "Mothers who are returning to employment after being on maternity leave are contacting us. They are encountering worse working conditions with unequal remuneration or efforts by their employer to get them to stop working. We have successful cases behind us where, with our aid, employees managed to achieve apologies or financial compensation for the mistreatment," iRozhlas.cz reported her as saying.
The Labor Inspection issued a total of 46 fines worth a total of CZK 544 000 [EUR 22 000] for the offenses described last year. Most were focused on differences in remuneration between men and women.
A total of 82 audits were performed and in five of the cases it was discovered that employers were paying different amounts to female and male employees in positions such as brewer or cook. According to Eurostat data, women in the Czech Republic make almost 22 % less than men, the second-highest gender pay gap in the EU.
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