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Non-discrimination in general
Belgian law generally prohibits direct and indirect discrimination of persons, inter alia, on the grounds of sex, age, ethnic or national origin, religious or philosophical convictions, sexual orientation, disability, etc. This prohibition is laid down in the Act of 10 May 2007 aimed at combating certain discriminations, the Act of 30 July 1981 criminalizing certain acts inspired by racism and xenophobia and in the Act of 10 May 2007 aimed at combating discrimination between women and men.
The prohibition of discrimination also applies to labour relations (access to the labour market, determination of the salary and the employment and labour conditions, promotion, dismissal). Bullying at work or any other kind of harassment can also be regarded as a form of discrimination if they are connected with with one of the protected criteria (e.g. where the worker is bullied because of his or her sexual orientation, etc.).
In case of discrimination (with the exception of a discrimination on the grounds of gender), please contact Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunity (UNIA). This public body can inform you concerning the scope and the content of your rights and duties in that regard and/or can help you to lodge a complaint, in cooperation with your union and/or the Labour Inspectorate.
Equality of treatment between men and women
Discrimination on the grounds of gender in the context of labour relations is separately regulated in the Act of 10 May 2007 aimed at combating discrimination between men and women.
This act forbids direct and indirect discrimination based on gender in employment relations. According to this legislation, any difference in treatment on the grounds of pregnancy, delivery or maternity is considered as a direct distinction on grounds of gender. The same applies to direct distinctions on the grounds of gender reassignment. Moreover,sexual harassment at work as well as harassment on the grounds of gender is also considered as a form of discrimination on the grounds of gender.
In case of discrimination on the grounds of gender, a complaint may be lodged with the Institute for Equality of Women and Men.