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Bill Aimed at Hiring Discrimination Will Be Considered by Dutch Legislature

Aerial drone view of Leiden town cityscape from above, typical Dutch city skyline with canals and houses, Holland, Netherlands

Original article by: Ius Laboris

Proposed legislation requiring employers to implement policies to promote equal opportunities and combat discrimination in the hiring process will make its way to the Dutch House of Representatives this fall.

At the beginning of July 2020, on the proposal of the State Secretary of Social Affairs and Employment, the Netherlands’ Council of Ministers approved a bill titled ‘Monitoring equal opportunities in recruitment and selection’. In a letter dated 6 July, the State Secretary informed the House of Representatives about the content and status of the bill. The bill is part of the Action Plan on Employment Market Discrimination 2018-2021.

Reason and purpose of the bill

The bill aims to promote equal opportunities and fair treatment in the labour market. Job candidates experience discrimination based on age, migration background, pregnancy and sexual orientation, among other things. This bill aims to ensure that employers’ recruitment and selection procedures offer equal opportunities to applicants and prevent prohibited discrimination. As the State Secretary points out in his letter, the current Covid-19 crisis makes attention to labour market discrimination even more important, as many people have become unemployed and are looking for new jobs.

What the bill would require employers to do

The bill imposes an obligation on employers to implement policies to combat discrimination in the hiring and selection process. Larger employers (those with ten or more employees) must formalise these equal opportunity policies in writing. For small employers (those with less than ten employees), a verbal explanation of their policies will suffice.

Enforcement and penalties

Under the bill, the ‘Inspectorate SZW’ (the labour inspectorate branch of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment) will eventually be given the power to verify compliance with this obligation.

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