Discrimination according to the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG)

What kinds of discrimination fall under the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG)?

The AGG defines discrimination as the less favourable treatment of a person or group of people when compared to another person or group with different characteristics, unless expressly justified by law (e.g. § 8 ff. AGG).

Categories of discrimination include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • World View
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sexual Identity

Who does the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) concern?

The AGG refers to all persons whose relationship to the university is analogous to that of an employee, including for example applicants, students, trainees, lecturers, administrative staff, as well as contract workers. With the introduction of a new directive on discrimination ("Richtlinie zum Schutz vor Benachteiligungen im Sinne des AGG und Verstößen gegen die sexuelle Selbstbestimmung und andere persönlichen Rechte"), the protection against discrimination as defined by German law was also extended to visitors.

Between which forms of discrimination does the AGG distinguish?

  • Direct discrimination (less favorable treatment in a comparable situation)
  • Indirect discrimination (disadvantage due to apparently neutral regulations, measures, or procedures)
  • Harassment (violation of dignity by creating an environment characterized by intimidation, hostility, bullying, humiliation, degradation or insult)
  • Sexual harassment
  • Instruction to one of the above

Violations of a person’s right to sexual self-determination are, on the one hand, violations in the sense of the German Criminal Code and are, on the other hand, understood as discrimination in the sense of § 3 (3) AGG.