The Danish Board of Equal Treatment recently held that the wording of a rejection letter was likely to create a presumption of discrimination on grounds of ethnicity.
If an employer is looking to hire, the potential candidates’ ethnicity must generally not be a factor in the decision. In this complaint before the Board of Equal Treatment, the issue was whether the wording of a rejection letter was likely to create a presumption of discrimination on grounds of ethnicity.
The case concerned a company which was looking to hire a marketing manager. One of the applicants had an Arabic-sounding name. He was born and raised in Denmark and generally seemed to be qualified for the job.
The applicant, who had submitted an English-language application, received the following reply from the company: “Thank you for your application and interest for [company]. Unfortunately we are looking for a Danish employee as our new marketing manager. Good luck”.
The applicant filed a complaint with the Board of Equal Treatment, arguing that it was absurd, derogatory and discriminatory to select candidates based on ethnicity. The company did not respond.
The Board sided with the complainant, holding that the fact that the company had concluded based on the applicant’s Arabic-sounding name and English-language application that he was not Danish created a presumption of discrimination on grounds of ethnicity.
As the company had done nothing to disprove this presumption, the Board decided in favour of the complainant and awarded him DKK 25,000 in compensation.
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