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Legal basis

Diversity is supported by its basis in national and international law and has been increasingly promoted in recent years because of this - including at universities.

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European Convention on Human Rights


Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights contains a prohibition of discrimination. This prohibits denying or restricting anyone in terms of the rights and freedoms set forth in the Convention on the basis of their sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

Treaty of Amsterdam

The Treaty of Amsterdam amended Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (now: Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), which expresses the common determination to proactively combat discrimination based on other factors (sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation). The Treaty was agreed by the heads of state and government of the European Union on the occasion of their meeting at the European Council in Amsterdam on 18 June 1997 and signed on 2 October 1997. It entered into force on 1 May 1999.

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

As well as the general principle of equality in Article 20 guaranteeing equality before the law, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also includes specific prohibitions of discrimination in Articles 21 and 23. Article 21 contains a comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation. Article 23 confirms the equality between men and women and also establishes the right to support for the "under-represented sex".


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Federal equal opportunities act

In 1993, a Bundes-Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (B-GlBG; federal equal opportunities act - Federal Law Gazette No. 100/1993 as amended) came into force in Austria, which had to be modified several times to bring it in line with current EU legislation. In 2004, there was a fundamental amendment which stipulated that no one must suffer direct or indirect discrimination in relation to an employment or educational relationship on the grounds of gender, ethnic affiliation, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation. Sexual harassment is deemed to be discrimination on the grounds of gender. The new offence of "gender-related harassment" was added to the B-GlBG act. This is harassment that takes place on the basis of gender but is not sexual in nature.

The latest amendment (Federal Law Gazette No. 97/2008) makes clear that the B-GlBG act also applies to fixed-term employment and employees on probation.

2002 Universities Act

The Universitätsgesetz 2002 (UG 2002; 2002 Universities Act) stipulates in section 44 that the B-GlBG also continues to apply to university members after they have left the University.

Bundes-Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz (federal disabled persons equality act)

The goal of the federal disabled persons equality act is to "eliminate or prevent the discrimination of people with disabilities and thus to provide for the equal participation of people with disabilities in society and to enable self-determined living" (section 1). 'Disability' is defined as follows in the federal disabled persons equality act: "(...) the effects of a non-temporary physical, mental or psychological impairment or an impairment of the sensory functions which is capable of making participation in the everyday life of society difficult" (section 3). The ban on discrimination (section 4) prohibits the "direct or indirect" discrimination of people with disabilities.

Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz (disabled persons employment act)

Taking into account special exceptions, the disabled persons employment act states the following: "All employers who employ 25 or more people (section 4, para. 1) are obliged to hire at least one so-called favoured disabled person (section 2) for every 25 employees." In the disabled persons employment act, 'favoured disabled persons' are "(...) Austrian citizens with a degree of disability of at least 50 per cent" (section 2). The principle of non-discrimination is also laid down by the disabled persons employment act: "Nobody may be directly or indirectly discriminated against in connection with an employment relationship pursuant to section 7a, para. 1, no. 1 and paras. 2 and 4 as well as in other work situations as defined by section 7a, para. 1, nos. 2-4." This concerns, among other things, areas such as establishing an employment relationship, setting remuneration, initial and further education and retraining, promotion, etc. (section 7b).

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