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Etnisk diskriminering i arbetslivet - En studie av diskrimineringsförbudets effektivitet i domstol

Svidén, Emma LU (2014) JURM02 20141
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Sammanfattning

Det civilrättsliga förbudet mot etnisk diskriminering i arbetslivet som har funnits sedan 1994 har resulterat i få fällande domar och har i tidigare forskning beskrivits som ineffektivt. Jag har i denna uppsats jämfört tillämpningen av diskrimineringsförbudet i arbetslivet med andra områden för att undersöka om det finns faktorer som påverkar effektiviteten inom arbetslivsområdet.

För att problematisera diskrimineringsförbudets effektivitet använder jag teoririktningen Critical Race Theory. Enligt denna teori är formella regler för likabehandling otillräckliga för att motverka rasism som ofta är institutionaliserad och verkar subtilt. En annan faktor som problematiseras är konsekvenserna av en begränsad förståelse av... (More)
Sammanfattning

Det civilrättsliga förbudet mot etnisk diskriminering i arbetslivet som har funnits sedan 1994 har resulterat i få fällande domar och har i tidigare forskning beskrivits som ineffektivt. Jag har i denna uppsats jämfört tillämpningen av diskrimineringsförbudet i arbetslivet med andra områden för att undersöka om det finns faktorer som påverkar effektiviteten inom arbetslivsområdet.

För att problematisera diskrimineringsförbudets effektivitet använder jag teoririktningen Critical Race Theory. Enligt denna teori är formella regler för likabehandling otillräckliga för att motverka rasism som ofta är institutionaliserad och verkar subtilt. En annan faktor som problematiseras är konsekvenserna av en begränsad förståelse av rasism.

Syftet med diskrimineringsförbudet är att motverka diskriminering och orättvisa. I diskrimineringslagens förarbeten beskrivs problemet med rasism och diskriminering dock inte särskilt ingående. Detta gör det svårt att föreskriva en effektiv lösning på problemet och skapar ett större tolkningsutrymme för domstolarna. Problembeskrivningen är begränsad och beskriver rasism som ett undantagsproblem i ett samhälle som domineras av goda relationer mellan olika etniska grupper. Vikten av rättssäkerhet för den som misstänks för diskriminering betonas, men inte för den som utsätts för diskriminering.

För att möjliggöra ett effektivt upprätthållande av diskrimineringsförbudet i domstol finns en regel om bevisbördelättnad för den som utsätts för diskriminering. Trots detta är enligt tidigare forskning tillämpningen av förbudet ineffektivt. Jag har utifrån denna tidigare forskning identifierat tre faktorer som gör att diskrimineringsförbudet fungerar ineffektivt på arbetsmarknaden. Den första faktorn är att domstolens restriktiva tillämpning av bevisbörderegeln gör det svårt för käranden att uppnå sin bevisbörda, vilket gör att den avsedda bevislättnaden inte uppnås. Den andra faktorn är att domstolen godtar arbetsgivarens alternativa förklaringar i allt för stor utsträckning. Genom att inte granska arbetsgivarnas argument närmare osynliggörs den subtila rasism som kan ligga bakom. Den tredje faktorn är den maktasymmetri som präglar förhållandet mellan arbetsgivaren och den anställde eller arbetssökande. Domstolen beaktar inte hur denna maktasymmetri påverkar parternas handlingsutrymme utan behandlar parterna lika utifrån principen om allas likhet inför lagen.

Min analys av rättsfall från övriga samhällsområden visar att samma faktorer inte återkommer där i lika hög grad. Diskrimineringen sker här i andra typer av situationer som inte är lika problematiska att tillämpa diskrimineringsförbudet och bevisbörderegeln på. Bevisbördan kastas om i ett tidigare stadie och domstolarna godtar inte alternativa förklaringar i lika hög grad. Principen om allas likhet inför lagen är inte lika problematisk att upprätthålla i situationer som inte är präglade av maktasymmetrier i samma utsträckning. Lagen är bättre lämpad för att pröva diskriminering på dessa områden och diskrimineringsförbudet kan därför upprätthållas mer effektivt.

Min analys visar att diskrimineringsförbudet fungerar mer ineffektivt på arbetslivsområdet än övriga områden. Detta beror bland annat på de maktasymmetrier som präglar detta område. Arbetsgivarens maktövertag och stora handlingsutrymme i form av fri antagningsrätt gör att dennes handlande inte granskas. Detta leder till att diskrimineringsförbudet inte kan upprätthållas lika effektivt i arbetslivet. Rasialiserade arbetstagares begränsade handlingsutrymme gör det svårt att få upprättelse vid diskriminering. I förlängningen leder detta till att lagen undermineras genom minskad tilltro. (Less)
Abstract
Summary

In 1994, Sweden passed a law prohibiting discrimination in work life on the basis of ethnicity. This Discrimination Act has led to few convictions and has been described by scholars as inefficient. This thesis analyses the courts’ enforcement of the prohibition of discrimination in working life compared to its enforcement in other areas of society.
Critical Race Theory is used to problematize the efficiency of the prohibition against discrimination. According to this theory, rules on formal equality are not enough to combat racism which works in often subtile ways. The theory also problematizes the impact of a restricted understanding of the problems with race and discrimination.
The purpose of the prohibition of... (More)
Summary

In 1994, Sweden passed a law prohibiting discrimination in work life on the basis of ethnicity. This Discrimination Act has led to few convictions and has been described by scholars as inefficient. This thesis analyses the courts’ enforcement of the prohibition of discrimination in working life compared to its enforcement in other areas of society.
Critical Race Theory is used to problematize the efficiency of the prohibition against discrimination. According to this theory, rules on formal equality are not enough to combat racism which works in often subtile ways. The theory also problematizes the impact of a restricted understanding of the problems with race and discrimination.
The purpose of the prohibition of discrimination is to counteract discrimination and injustice. In the legislative preparatory works, the problem of discrimination is not very thoroughly presented. This makes it difficult to provide an efficient solution to the problem and also leaves the courts with a broad margin of discretion. The limited problem description understates the problem of racism and presents it as an exception in a society where good relations between ethnic groups prevail. The legislator emphasizes the importance of legal certainty for the party that stands under inquiry for unlawful discrimination, but not for the one who is subject to it.
In order to uphold the efficiency of the legislation, there is a relief in the burden of proof for the plaintiff in a case concerning unlawful discrimination. However, according to previous research, the courts’ application of the prohibition against ethnic discrimination in work life is in fact ineffective. I have identified three factors that contributes to this inefficiency: The first factor is the courts’ applications of the burden of proof when it concerns the plaintiff employee. It is difficult for the plaintiff to fulfill the required burden of proof, and this undermines the purpose of the provision. The second factor is that to a large extent, the courts accept the defendant employers’ alternative explanations. By failing to examine these explanations further, they fail to detect the subtile racism that may be concealed in the arguments. The third factor is the asymmetric nature of the power relations in work life and how this affects the parties’ capacity of action. The courts’ reluctance to consider these power relations is due to the fact that they view all parties as equal before the law.

My analysis of case law shows that these factors do not affect the efficiency of the prohibition against discrimination to the same extent in other areas of society. In the alternative areas that I examined, unlawful discrimination occurs in situations which are less challenging when it comes to the application of the burden of proof provision. The plaintiff is hereby considered to have fulfilled the burden of proof on an earlier stage and the defendant’s explanations are not as likely to become accepted. The principle of equality before the law is not as problematic in situations where power relations are more in balance. The Discrimination Act is therefor better suited for application in these alternative areas of society than in working life.

The prohibition against unlawful discrimination works less efficient in the labour market than in other sectors of society. This is mainly because of the uneven power relations that prevail in the former. The employers has discretion when it comes to decisions in the workplace and therefor their actions are not scrutinized. Conversely, racialized employees have difficulties in redressing experiences of discrimination. In the long run this undermines the credibility of the Discrimination Act and the legal system at large. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Svidén, Emma LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Ethnic discrimination in worklife -Enforcement and efficiency in court
course
JURM02 20141
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Civilrätt, Arbetsrätt, Etnisk Diskriminering, Critical Race Theory
language
Swedish
id
4451198
date added to LUP
2014-06-12 09:02:08
date last changed
2014-06-12 09:02:08
@misc{4451198,
  abstract     = {Summary

In 1994, Sweden passed a law prohibiting discrimination in work life on the basis of ethnicity. This Discrimination Act has led to few convictions and has been described by scholars as inefficient. This thesis analyses the courts’ enforcement of the prohibition of discrimination in working life compared to its enforcement in other areas of society. 
Critical Race Theory is used to problematize the efficiency of the prohibition against discrimination. According to this theory, rules on formal equality are not enough to combat racism which works in often subtile ways. The theory also problematizes the impact of a restricted understanding of the problems with race and discrimination. 
The purpose of the prohibition of discrimination is to counteract discrimination and injustice. In the legislative preparatory works, the problem of discrimination is not very thoroughly presented. This makes it difficult to provide an efficient solution to the problem and also leaves the courts with a broad margin of discretion. The limited problem description understates the problem of racism and presents it as an exception in a society where good relations between ethnic groups prevail. The legislator emphasizes the importance of legal certainty for the party that stands under inquiry for unlawful discrimination, but not for the one who is subject to it.
In order to uphold the efficiency of the legislation, there is a relief in the burden of proof for the plaintiff in a case concerning unlawful discrimination. However, according to previous research, the courts’ application of the prohibition against ethnic discrimination in work life is in fact ineffective. I have identified three factors that contributes to this inefficiency: The first factor is the courts’ applications of the burden of proof when it concerns the plaintiff employee. It is difficult for the plaintiff to fulfill the required burden of proof, and this undermines the purpose of the provision. The second factor is that to a large extent, the courts accept the defendant employers’ alternative explanations. By failing to examine these explanations further, they fail to detect the subtile racism that may be concealed in the arguments. The third factor is the asymmetric nature of the power relations in work life and how this affects the parties’ capacity of action. The courts’ reluctance to consider these power relations is due to the fact that they view all parties as equal before the law. 

My analysis of case law shows that these factors do not affect the efficiency of the prohibition against discrimination to the same extent in other areas of society. In the alternative areas that I examined, unlawful discrimination occurs in situations which are less challenging when it comes to the application of the burden of proof provision. The plaintiff is hereby considered to have fulfilled the burden of proof on an earlier stage and the defendant’s explanations are not as likely to become accepted. The principle of equality before the law is not as problematic in situations where power relations are more in balance. The Discrimination Act is therefor better suited for application in these alternative areas of society than in working life. 

The prohibition against unlawful discrimination works less efficient in the labour market than in other sectors of society. This is mainly because of the uneven power relations that prevail in the former. The employers has discretion when it comes to decisions in the workplace and therefor their actions are not scrutinized. Conversely, racialized employees have difficulties in redressing experiences of discrimination. In the long run this undermines the credibility of the Discrimination Act and the legal system at large.},
  author       = {Svidén, Emma},
  keyword      = {Civilrätt,Arbetsrätt,Etnisk Diskriminering,Critical Race Theory},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Etnisk diskriminering i arbetslivet - En studie av diskrimineringsförbudets effektivitet i domstol},
  year         = {2014},
}