Protection against discrimination in Germany

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The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) in Germany provides protection against discrimination for all people. According to this law, it is prohibited to discriminate against or treat persons or groups less favourably on the basis of at least one of the six protected discrimination categories: gender, religion and belief, disability, racial discrimination, age and sexual identity, if there is no objective reason for the unequal treatment. 

The AGG distinguishes who discriminates and whether this discrimination originates from private persons or state authorities. The AGG applies most of all to people’s working lives, for example during application and hiring procedures, with regard to payment or membership in an organization representing employees’ interests. The AGG also applies in certain cases in day-to-day life – for example, when renting a flat, visiting a disco, using public transport or opening a bank account.

Berlin is the first German federal state to have an anti-discrimination law at the state level, the so-called Berlin State Anti-Discrimination Act or Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz (LADG). It states: "No person may be discriminated against in the context of public-law action on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, racist and anti-Semitic attribution, religion and ideology, disability, chronic illness, age, language, sexual and gender identity, and social status.”

Because the legal situation is very confusing and complex, we recommend that you contact a counseling center as soon as possible if you have an incident of discrimination. Any discrimination should be reported or denounced, this is the only way to change things. Do not be afraid! The counseling centers will only report your case with your consent.