Discrimination handling in Germany (6)

Section 5.1: Works council

If a works council (Betriebsrat [1]) has been established in a company, the works council can handle discrimination cases. A works council is an in-company organization. It represents employees and its members are employees. It is not a union (e.g., works council doesn't do a strike). It is more based on cooperation with company's representative to improve the working environment which would also benefit the company itself. For instance, improving office environment would improve the task efficiency, this can also attract more talented people, preventing to quit talented employees, and so forth.

A works council's primary task is protecting/supporting employees. Therefore, if the employer disrespects equal opportunity, works council will handle the problem as supporting the employees.  If there are conflicts of interest (e.g., an employee made a hate speech), works councils choose to which employee to support based on the situation.

Section 5.2: Trade union

Trade unions (Gewerkschaft) represents employees that choose to be paying members. A union typically spans many companies in the same field. The union proactively handles discrimination problems, such as gender inequality. There are a few unions in Germany [2] (for example, ver.di, IG Metal, ..., see the wiki page).

Unions usually have non-racism policies and can handle any discrimination problem, provided they have access to the company. This is usually true if employees of the company are members of the union.


  1. Wikipedia de, Betriebsrat, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betriebsrat, (Online; accessed 2015-4-2(Thu))
  2. Wikipedia de, Gewerkschaften in Deutschland, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gewerkschaften_in_Deutschland, (Online; accessed 2015-4-2(Thu))

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