The Klagsverband is a Litigation Association of NGOs Against Discrimination. It was founded in 2004 as an umbrella organisation of NGOs already working against discrimination and consulting victims of discrimination.
You can download our Annual Reports here:
- Annual Report 2012 as a doc and a pdf
- Annual Report 2010 as a doc and a pdf
- Annual Report 2009 as a doc and a pdf
- Annual Report 2007 as a doc and a pdf
Today the Klagsverband includes a set of NGOs which are dealing with different aspects of discrimination:
- Aids Hilfe Wien
- Amnesty International Austria
- Anti-discrimination Agency Salzburg
- Anti-discrimination Office Styria
- BIZEPS – Independent Living Center Vienna
- dabei austria
- WOMEN´S SERVICE Graz
- Helping Hands Graz
- HOSI Vienna – Homosexual Initiative Vienna
- Institute for Age Competences (entschleunigung und orientierung – institut für alterskompetenzen)
- ISOP – Innovative social projects
- LEFOE – Councelling and Education Centre for Migrant Women
- Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights – Research Association (BIM-FV)
- Austrian National Association of the Deaf
- Independent Living Innsbruck
- Independent Living Upper Austria
- Independent Living Austria
- migrare – Center for migrants Upper Austria
- OESB – Austrian Umbrella Organisation for Hard-of-Hearing People
- Platform Human Rights Salzburg
- Association of Austrian Female Lawyers
- maiz – organisation by and for migrant women
- Peregrina – educational, counseling and therapy centre for immigrant women
- Romano Centro
- SOMM – Self-organisation of migrant and muslim women
- SOPHIE – Place of education for sex workers
- SOS Menschenrechte Oesterreich
- Trans X – the Austrian Transgender Association
- ZARA – Civil Courage and Anti-Racism Work
The organisation is not profit-minded but strives to implement the rights of those who suffer discrimination. Additionally, the recognition of the role of NGOs to the further development of the legislation and judicial practice concerning discrimination should be promoted and enforced in the public.
The main work of the Klagsverband is to consult its members and the clients of those NGOs as well as to send advisory experts to the Commission on Equal Treatment.
Thanks to § 62 of the Equal Treatment Act (GlBG) which provides for the possibility to intervene in favour of plaintiffs, the Klagsverband attends victims of indirect or direct discrimination in the litigation. This additional legal protection exists with regard to discrimination at work as well as in other situation like the access to services and goods (housing, access to restaurants and clubs, travel, …).
Finally, the Klagsverband is part of a wide network of organisations and provides these contacts to victims of discrimination.
Klagsverband – Litigation Association of NGOs against Discrimination
Schoenbrunner Strasse 119/13
Entrance: Am Hundsturm 7
Tel: 0043 1 961 05 85-24
Fax: 0043 1 961 05 85-99
Antidiscrimination law in Austria
Antidiscrimination is a relatively new field of law in Austria although there have been special provisions for ethnic minorities (especially Croatians and Slovenians) and for handicapped people as well as the Prohibition Act criminalizing national socialist activities.
In 1979 the Equal Treatment Act was enacted. It followed a number of EC directives and aimed at providing equal opportunities for men and women at work.
In 1998 there were first attempts of NGOs and research institutions to lobby for an antidiscrimination act. Finally, the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights prepared a comprehensive draft Antidiscrimination Act. It was published in March 2001. As the two EU directives of 2000 (Antiracism directive, Employment Framework Directive) had to be transposed into Austrian law, there was hope that the responsible ministries would make use of this draft. These hopes were disappointed and the government decided to establish several acts.
Moreover -due to Austria´s federal structure – antidiscrimination affects the federal state as well as the provinces. So finally there are over 20 acts implementing the directives into Austrian law.
Legal provisions on federal level
The core of Austrian Antidiscrimination law is the Equal Treatment Act (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz, GlBG).
It applies to discrimination in the field of private employment on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion and belief, and age. Moreover, it prohibits discrimination with respect to access to goods and services provided by private persons, companies and the federal state on the ground of ethnic origin.
The rights given to persons under this Act can be enforced at the courts. There is also the possibility free from charges and costs to ask for a – non binding – decision of the Equal Treatment Commission.
Discrimination on the ground of a disability is prohibited by the Disabled Persons Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz, BEinstG) and the Disabled Persons Equal Opportunities Act (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz, BGStG). They are applicable to private and federal employment as well as all contracts and all legal relations governed by federal law.
To enforce these acts it is necessary to file a complaint with the Federal Social Welfare Authorities. If a dispute cannot be settled within three months an action can be filed at court.
Legal provisions on provincial level
Austria is divided in 9 provinces. By now, they all have implemented the directives.
In all provinces, discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, a disability, ethnic origin, religion and belief, and age is prohibited with regard to employment.
Discrimination concerning the access to goods and services is prohibited in all provinces on the grounds of ethnic origin. Some provinces include all the grounds mentioned above, others some of them.
Sanctions in case of discrimination
There is no obligation to enter into a contract! Therefore compensation for damage is the most frequent sanction. There are no special rules for material damages – they have to be compensated fully. Special provisions apply to denial of employment.
Involvement of NGOs
The involvement of NGOs in the legal procedures is rather poor. On the federal level, NGOs can assist victims of discrimination at the Equal Treatment Commission and the Federal Social Welfare Authorities.
The Klagsverband is entitled to support persons in court actions on ground of the Equal Treatment Act, the Austrian National Council of Disabled Persons (Oesterreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rehabilitation, OEAR) in proceedings on ground of the Disabled Persons Employment Act and the Disabled Persons Equal Opportunities Act.