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The information contained on this page represents the situation as of 1 January 2014 and is a summary of the country report produced by the country expert from the network. The summary can be downloaded here as well.

Dieter Schindlauer


Country context

Austria is a wealthy modern welfare state with a population of about 8 million people. The majority of the population is white and German speaking. Autochthonous and recognised minorities are the Croats, Slovenes, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Roma. Starting in the late 1960s Austria became a country of immigration, predominantly attracting younger workers from former Yugoslavia and Turkey.

Main principles and definitions

In general, all major principles of the Directives have been incorporated into the Austrian legal framework.

The definitions of direct and indirect discrimination have been quoted literally from the Directives. Harassment and victimisation are also covered.

Enforcing the law

Despite the quite comprehensive legal framework, the enforcement of it is still deficient. There are a couple of reasons for this finding: Firstly, there is still an enormous lack of awareness in the overall population – even about the mere existence of the legislation. Another reason is the very complex and scattered legal framework; - more than 40 legal acts could be relevant.

Main Legislation

The Republic of Austria is a federal state. According to the Austrian Constitution, first enacted in 1920, legal powers are exercised either by the Bund (Federation) or the provinces (Länder). Under the Constitution, neither the Federation nor the provinces have the exclusive power to regulate “anti-discrimination”. This leads to a very scattered legal framework with more than 30 Provincial pieces of legislation and five main acts at the Federal level.

Material scope

The Austrian Federal legislator has implemented legislation covering the complete scope of the Directives. In the area of employment (public and private) all the grounds are protected. Ethnic affiliation and disability are further protected grounds in the area of access to and supply with goods and services, while the broadest scope of protection (including education, health and social protection/security) is in place for the ground of ethnic affiliation only.

Equality bodies

Equal Treatment Commission

The Equal Treatment Commission at the Federal Ministry for Women and Public Service is divided into three senates, dealing with:

  1. Equal treatment of men and women in the workplace;
  2. Equal treatment within the scope of directive 2000/78/EC excluding disability, including race and ethnic origin;
  3. Equal treatment within the scope of directive 2000/43/EC for race and ethnic origin outside employment and directive 2004/113 /EC.
Go to the European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities This initiative is financed by the EC Programme Progress. But the views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.