Ethnic and religious minorities are discriminated against in the labour market, says this year's Shadow Report on racism in Europe
The situation in the area of discrimination against minorities and migrants has worsened during the economic crisis: the gap in the employment of ethnic minorities and the majority of the population has deepened. For example, in Finland or in Belgium, the unemployment rate for people born outside the EU is three times higher than for the local population. The part of the report which is devoted to the Czech Republic revolves around two groups of people: Foreigners and ethnic Roma. Members of both of these two groups are confronted with discrimination in the labour market. Discrimination is often encountered as early as in the selection procedure for employment, for example by preselecting the candidates according to their last name. A recent study by CERGE showed that, while having similar CVs, job-seekers with Czech-sounding names are several times more likely to be invited for an interview.  Some foreigners thus, hoping for a greater chance to find a job, make their surname sound more Czech.
Among the most common manifestations of employment discrimination are lower wages, lack of career prospects, precarious and difficult working conditions, harassment and abusive dismissal. The precarious conditions foreigners face in employment have caught the attention of Czech NGOs for a long time. Despite the existence of European legislation prohibiting discrimination in employment, discriminatory practices are relatively widespread. The ENAR Shadow Report stresses that the legislation in place is not as effective as it should be. "It is especially due to obstacles when seeking judicial remedies and difficulties in providing evidence of discrimination, a lack of trust in the judicial system , low awareness of the legal provisions available, and the length and cost of legal proceedings. This also applies to the Czech Republic. Victims of discrimination often do not receive legal assistance and do not know how to effectively defend themselves against discrimination," observes one of the authors of the report on the Czech Republic, lawyer Alexandra Dubová.
Another major problem is unemployment. In the Czech Republic, no official data on the employment of persons with minority or migrant background is available, however, regional research of the UNDP, the World Bank and the European Commission  as well as the estimates of the labour office clearly point to substantially higher unemployment, particularly among young Roma, when compared to the majority of the population. In this case, it is not possible to reduce the whole issue to discrimination only, urban planner Jakob Hurrle explains: "High unemployment among Roma must be attributed also to the education system and to their regional distribution. Roma often live in areas with the highest unemployment rates. The growing problems of the Roma population with housing and the dangerous trend of moving Roma into poor regions with cheap housing and missing jobs is yet another factor worsening the whole situation".
The ENAR Shadow Report criticizes the Czech Republic in particular for its restrictive policy towards foreigners in the field of employment, long-term neglect of the issue of Roma unemployment, and malfunctioning mechanisms of legal protection of victims of employment discrimination. The report recommends that the Czech Republic improve the mechanism of data collection, create employment positions for disadvantaged groups, adopt the law on free legal counselling and social housing, move away from restrictive policies towards foreigners, and foster the development of anti-discrimination legislation such as increasing the powers of the Ombudsman (Public defender of rights) in the detection of discrimination.
For more information, please contact:
- Jakob Hurrle, Multicultural Center Prague, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.mkc.cz
- Georgina Siklossy, ENAR spokesperson, phone +32 (0)2 229 35 70, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.enar-eu.org
- European Network Against Racism (ENAR) advocates against racism and discrimination and seeks equality and solidarity for all in Europe. Across Europe, ENAR connects local and national anti-racist non-governmental organizations and brings the issues of ethnic and religious minorities into European and national political debates.
- Annualy, ENAR publishes a shadow report on the state of racism and discrimination in Europe. At the same time, the European Report draws on 23 national shadow reports (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and United Kingdom). The European Report and national reports are available at: http://www.enar-eu.org/. A summary can be found here (in English).
- This year's shadow report for the Czech Republic, with a focus on racism and discrimination in employment was prepared by authors from the Multicultural Center Prague. It is available here (in English).
- On 21 March 1960, in a peaceful demonstration against apartheid laws in South Africa, 69 demonstrators lost their lives. In response to this tragic event, the United Nations declared March 21 the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
 Bartoš, V., Bauer, M., Chytilová, J., Matějka, F., Attention Discrimination: Theory and Field Experiments, CERGE-EI, Praha, 2013.
 UNDP/WB/EC Regional Roma Survey, 2011.
This text was translated as a part of the project “Foreign workers in the Labour Market“, which is carried out by the Association for Integration and Migration (SIMI) in cooperation with the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU) and Multicultural center Prague. International partners of the project are Caritasverband für die Diezöse Osnabrück from Germany and Anti - Slavery International from Great Britain.