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Posted on: Oct 04, 2013

Learn more about discrimination

Harmonia Coaching

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is when you exclude people on the basis of (personal) characteristics. For example, to distinguish on origin, gender, color, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability or chronic illness.

An example of discrimination is someone refuse a job because of one of these characteristics that are not relevant. If a person applies for a truck driver without a C1 driver’s license and is rejected, this is understood and expected. But if a person does not get the same services as others, because he or she is a woman, a Muslim, a gay or has dark complexion, then this is discrimination.

Not everything is discrimination. There are situations where it is not prohibited to distinguish between people. Losing the post of a clerk, because one has not sufficient command of the language, is not discrimination. A good command of the language is in fact necessary in order to perform well on this job.

There are two forms of discrimination

The Direct discrimination is if someone is treated differently because of personal characteristics or properties.

Indirect discrimination is as a neutral provision, rule or practice has specific consequences for a group of people with the characteristics listed in the equal treatment legislation or properties. This is prohibited, unless there is an objective justification for it. This is the case for example if a person of non-Dutch origin, doesn’t know the Dutch language so, is not well controlled and is rejected because a good command of the language, which is necessary to fulfill.

Nobody wants to be discriminated against and no one wants to be accused of discrimination. That discrimination is a complex and loaded term. Moreover, people give different meanings to the concept of discrimination and assesses one different situations and comments. What one meant as a joke, can be very hurtful to another. These different views and the taboo on discrimination is difficult to recognize discrimination and create discussion.

Stereotypes and prejudices

There is a close connection between discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices. A stereotype is an exaggerated idea about a group of people that does not match the reality. For example, that all blonde women are dumb. Often these negative ideas and they are used as justification for discriminatory actions. Stereotypes can be based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability or chronic illness.

A prejudice is an opinion about someone or a group of people that is not based on facts. It is usually a generalization, such that women want to work alone. Part time Prejudices are persistent and if a particular group has been once stuck a label then it is difficult to change this.

Stereotyping and prejudice can have negative consequences for the way people interact with each other. If people because of prejudices related to a discriminatory ground are subordinated there is discrimination. Research shows that employers are guided by stereotypes and prejudices about groups. Regularly during the recruitment and selection process For example, that women are not ambitious, inflexible elderly, ethnic minorities (to) documents and people with disabilities often sick.

What does the law say?

Dutch legislation in the Dutch Constitution, fundamental rights laid down. These rights apply to everyone who is in the Netherlands. Article 1 of the Constitution states that "All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted."

Equal Treatment Legislation

Article 1 of the Constitution focuses primarily to the government. This Article has been developed in several equal treatment laws to the right to regulate. Equal treatment between citizens Together, these laws form the equal treatment legislation.

The equal treatment legislation is that people may be due to personal characteristics that do not matter not treated differently:

religion / belief

political affiliation

race, ethnicity

sex: male, female, transgender (transsexuals, transvestites, intersex), pregnancy


heterosexual or homosexual orientation (bisexual orientation)

marital status: married or unmarried, or not registered partnership

disability or chronic illness


working hours: full-time or part-time

permanent or temporary employment

Furthermore, the discrimination relate to the following areas: labor (eg recruitment, dismissal, working conditions (pay), promotion, working conditions, employment) goods / services (eg housing, welfare, health, culture, education, financial services, insurance ).

Other laws and regulations

There are also various prohibitions of discrimination laid down in the Civil Code, the Civil and the Criminal Code.

International framework of human rights, the principle is that all people are of equal value. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that all people are free and equal in dignity and rights are born. Article 2, paragraph UDHR, then provides that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms listed in the Declaration "without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion , national or social origin, property, birth or other status. " This means that the right in principle equally applies to everyone. Equality before the law means that everyone is entitled to equal treatment by the courts, for example, although penalties can vary from situation to situation and person. Other important applications of the principle of equality, the equal rights of men and women, equal pay for equal work and equal rights in elections.

Equal treatment including prescribed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

If you want to learn more, visit the website at: College for Human Rights

photo by: mind on fire


Designer, marketer & a social media karate kid (No 4). When she grows up, she wants to feed the world with Greek food & Frappe. Admires the yellow angry bird because it strikes its targets with power and precision.