A shop in Belgium was directed to pay more than €13,000 in damages to a man. The man had been turned down for a job by the shop because the shop had wanted to hire a woman for the post.
A complaint with the Belgium’s institute for gender equality was filed by the man who is from Louvain (Leuven), near Brussels. The institute won the case for the man in a case at a labour tribunal.
The clothes shop had said it was “looking for a female colleague” while it rejected the application by the man.
Resolving discrimination outside of the court is primarily done by it, the institute says.
The names of neither the shop in Louvain nor the job-seeker were issued for legal reasons.
The amount in damages is almost equivalent to six months’ gross salary of the post that the man wanted to join. The exact amount of fine is €13,289.84.
Payment of one euro to the Institute for Equality between Women and Men (IEFH) by the shop was also ordered to be paid.
The institute had handled about 50 claims from men and 60 from women concerning sex discrimination during job recruitment, a lawyer at the institute, Pauline Loeckx, told the media.
For the job a more capable woman had bene found by the Louvain clothes shop, the shop had argued at the tribunal, she said. But the e-mail that the shop had sent to the male applicant contained the evidence of discrimination.
“With men you see the discrimination mostly at the recruitment stage, whereas with women there is discrimination at each stage of work: in recruitment, salary levels and dismissal,” Loeckx said.
Enforcement of Belgium’s gender equality laws is done nationally by the IEFH. The organization took care of 295 complaints of sex discrimination last year. Those complaints were just not related to the workplace discrimination but also included many in services.
Loeckx said that women accounted for about 58 per cent of the complaints related to workplace discrimination and over 150 of them were related to pregnancy.
The fact that recruitment decisions “are often based on stereotypes, not on the real competences of people” is reflected by the Louvain case, she said.
At workplaces such as shops, beauty parlours and kindergartens, it is more likely that men would face discrimination, Loeckx said.
Transport firms, butchers, builders and taxi businesses are the areas where women generally face more discrimination.
“Ladies only” events staged by two cinema chains is another issue that is handled by the organization says the IEFH’s annual report in French. Entry was refused to males who wanted to go to the event with their female partners.
(Adapted from BBC.com)