A fair society requires equal opportunities in the job market. Recently in the Netherlands, a new law has been passed by the Dutch government addressing this issue by focusing on preventing employment discrimination. This law has far-reaching implications for employers. But what does employment discrimination entail, and what does this new law mean for companies?
What is employment discrimination?
Employment discrimination involves any form of unjustified unequal treatment in the workplace or during the application process, based on characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. It is a complex issue that can occur in various ways, ranging from subtle biases to blatant exclusion.
The New Law: Supervision of Equal Opportunities in Recruitment and Selection
The new law obliges companies to take active steps to prevent discrimination. Companies must establish a procedure for their recruitment process, in which they specifically describe how they will prevent and counteract discrimination. Companies that do not comply with this law risk substantial fines.
The Importance of This Law
This law is crucial for two reasons. First, discrimination in all its forms is prohibited, as stated in Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution. Unfortunately, in practice, both conscious and unconscious discrimination often occur during the recruitment process. Moreover, with the introduction of this new law, the labor inspectorate can specifically investigate a company’s recruitment process when there are signs of employment discrimination. This allows for a more efficient detection and addressing of companies that engage in discriminatory practices.
Concrete Steps to Combat Employment Discrimination
There are several ways companies can tackle employment discrimination. Firstly, they can introduce anonymous applications, where personal details that could lead to discrimination are removed. They can also offer training programs to their HR and recruitment teams to increase bias awareness.
Promoting diversity and inclusion within the company culture can also contribute to creating an environment where everyone has equal opportunities. Additionally, the use of (the right) objective assessments, more focused on measuring cultural compatibility and values rather than personal background, can also help ensure fair selection processes.
In the era of technological advancement, the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the recruitment process can contribute to reducing employment discrimination. AI can help remove human biases from the selection process by making objective analyses that are impossible for humans themselves. As a result, HR and recruitment teams can make fairer and better choices based on objective information. Additionally, they can have more meaningful and consistent interviews, and every applicant is assisted by receiving feedback on where they would be happiest in terms of work environment and where personal growth opportunities lie. This is then based on objective insights rather than subjective factors.
The new ‘Supervision of Equal Opportunities’ law is a crucial step forward in the fight against employment discrimination. By placing the responsibility for equal opportunities now also in the hands of employers, it encourages companies to take proactive steps towards a fairer and more inclusive work environment. With increased awareness and the help of technology, such as AI, we can work towards a job market that is free from discrimination and full of opportunities and equal chances for everyone.