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työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö

Non-discrimination and equality at work

The Ministry of Employment and the Economy aims to ensure there is non-discrimination and diversity at work.


The purpose of the Non-discrimination Act is to foster and safeguard equality in different sections of society.  Legislation on employment, including official posts, also has provisions on non-discrimination at work.


In addition, the Act on Equality between Women and Men (the ’Equality Act’) lays down provisions on gender equality. Discrimination in announcing a vacant position, in the selection of an employee, and during employment is the punishable offence of discrimination at work.


Under the Non-discrimination Act, it is prohibited to discriminate on the grounds of age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, health, disability, sexual orientation or for any other personal reason. Both direct and indirect discrimination are identified. Furthermore, harassment and instructions or orders to discriminate are prohibited.


The Employment Contracts Act requires employers to treat their employees fairly. Fair treatment must be observed when employees are granted benefits and when obligations are imposed on them. The only exception to this is if there is a justifiable reason based on the duties and position of employees.


The Employment Contracts Act prohibits unjustified discrimination against employees on the basis of age, health, disability, national or ethnic origin, nationality, sexual orientation, language, religion, opinion, belief, family ties, trade union activity, political activity or for any other comparable reason. The fair treatment obligation and prohibition of discrimination apply when recruiting an employee, during employment, and when employment ends.

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) authorities oversee compliance with the Non-discrimination Act and employment legislation generally. Compliance with the Equality Act is monitored by the Ombudsman for equality.

YES – Equality is Priority, information campaignRegulation of Discrimination and Working Life, brochure text, 2003

Monitoring Labour Discrimination in Finland, 2014 (summary)Discrimination in employment - a review of research literature, 2010 (summary)Evaluation of the Effects of the Non-Discrimination Act, Research Report on Authorities’ Views, on Legal and Legitimate Praxis and on Supervision of the Act, 2008 (summary)

Page last updated: 22.01.2015