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Introduction

The information contained on this page represents the situation as of 1 January 2013 and is a summary of the  country report produced by the country expert from the network. The summary can be downloaded  here as well.

The information contained on this page has been produced by the country expert from the network.

Contact: 
Per Norberg
E-mail: per.norberg@jur.lu.se

Country context

Sweden was until recently a fairly homogenous country. It is also a strongly secular country, albeit within a Lutheran Church tradition. Its population is only around 9,5 million people. However, the proportion of foreign-born inhabitants has increased from 6.7% in 1970 to 19,1% in 2010.[1]

Main principles and definitions

The definition of direct discrimination in the Discrimination Act Ch. 1 Sec 4 first point reads as follows:

Direct Discrimination:that someone is disadvantaged by being treated less favourably than someone else is treated, has been treated or would have been treated in a comparable situation, if this disadvantaging is associated with sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.

Enforcing the law

Civil processes regarding working life under the Discrimination Act is to be dealt with in accordance with the Labour Disputes Act. Should the individual concerned be a member of a trade union the Ombudsmen’s right to represent the victim (see also section 6 below) is subsidiary to the right of the trade union to represent its member.

Main legislation

The 1975 Instrument of Government states that public institutions shall counteract discrimination against persons on a number of grounds and it also contains an enumeration of protected fundamental individual rights, including the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of belonging to minorities of sex, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, language, religious affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, age or other circumstance that relates to the individual as a person.

Material scope

Regarding all areas, including working life, the new Discrimination Act contains no enumeration of the material scope. In some areas a few situations not covered by the prohibitions are enumerated. The material scope is thus wider than required by EC-law.

The Discrimination Act applies to all aspects of the employer-employee relationship. Self-employed people are, however, not covered by the prohibition of discrimination in working life.

Equality bodies

The new Equality Ombudsman is the key public institutions for the promotion of equal rights. It has the right to investigate complaints concerning discrimination according to any of the non-discrimination acts mentioned as well as the right to represent individuals in discrimination cases that are of importance in terms of case law or otherwise.

Furthermore, the Ombudsman is also required to give advice, independent assistance and support more generally to individuals and institutions; engage in education, information and opinion-shaping efforts to combat discrimination; and propose to the Government legal and other measures that may be of use to combat discrimination and monitor international developments. Independent surveys and reports are important parts of this work.

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.