Dutch gov't to name-and-shame, fine discriminating employers

Waiting for a job interview
Waiting for a job interviewPhoto: AllaSerebrina/DepositPhotos

The Dutch government is stepping up the fight against discrimination in the employee recruitment process. Employers and employment agencies caught discriminating while looking for staff will now be fined up to 4,500 euros per case. Their misconduct will also be made public, State Secretary Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs and Employment announced in a bill on Wednesday, the Volkskrant report.

The State Secretary is not only focusing on actual discrimination against an applicant, but also on discrimination during the procedure. Employers must now show in a vacancy how the recruitment and selection process will happen and how discrimination is prevented. If they don't do so, the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate can intervene. 

At a first offense, the employer or employment agency will be given a warning. If nothing changes, they will be fined. The fines, and the reason they were imposed, will be made public. This applies to both vacancies for which someone is being sought outside the company, and vacancies that the company wants to fill internally. 

Discrimination on the labor market is a persistent problem. On Wednesday Van Ark sent a study to parliament on discrimination in the recruitment process. This study, a repeat of the same study from 2015, showed that while discrimination based on gender or age decreased, discrimination based on ethnicity is still a problem, Van Ark said. The researchers also attributed the decreased discrimination to the tightness on the labor market, more than anything else. 

Last year a study by Radar showed that many employment agencies are willing to discriminate when it comes to finding employees. Radar workers called employment agencies, pretending to be an employer looking for staff and made discriminatory requests - like they're only looking for people with a western-background. Almost half of these requests were honored. 

On Tuesday the SCP also released a report saying that an inclusive personnel policy is not a priority for Dutch employers.