28 March 2014

A new report by the European Network against Racism (ENAR) shows that third-country nationals, Muslims (especially women), Roma, Black people and women with a minority or a migrant background are more likely to experience discrimination in employment compared with the native population.

In Spain, African migrants are twice as likely to be unemployed as people from the majority population. In the United Kingdom, people with foreign sounding names are a third less likely to be shortlisted for jobs than people with white British sounding names. In France, applicants who live in socially disadvantaged areas face discrimination. In Italy, 34% of foreigners are employed as unskilled workers compared with 8% of the majority population.

While EU legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment exists, namely the Racial Equality Directive and the Employment Equality Directive, gaps remain with regard to implementation and protection mechanisms. This is due to obstacles to bringing cases to court, including the difficulty to prove discrimination, a lack of trust in the judicial system and awareness of legal provisions by the victims of discrimination, the length and costs of the proceedings and the fear of being re-victimised.

“It is worrying to see the lack of political will to tackle discrimination in employment when we see how pervasive and widespread it is across Europe. It’s time politicians take this issue seriously, especially as access to quality work will be a high priority among voters – including members of minorities – for the upcoming European elections. They should realise that discriminating and excluding individuals from jobs results in a huge waste of talent and skills, of human and financial resources, and ultimately affects progress and the well-being of all people living in Europe”, ENAR’s chair Sarah Isal said in a statement.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 28 March 2014
You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.