New equal treatment board

Date 5 feb. 2009

On 1 January 2009, the Equal Treatment Board was established. The Equal Treatment Board replaces the Gender Equality Board, but has a broader field of application, so that fewer cases on equal treatment must be brought before the courts. Moreover, the new board assumes the fields of responsibility of the Complaints Committee for Ethnic Equal Treatment which has also been closed.  Thus, the board is the place for citizens to turn to in the future if they wish to complain about differential treatment. The Equal Treatment Board handles cases inside and outside the labour market.


The Equal Treatment Board handles complaints about differential treatment based on gender, race, skin colour, religion or belief, political view, sexual orientation, age, disabilities or national, social or ethnic origin.


The board consists of 12 members, all of whom have a legal background and extensive insight into labour market matters as well as equal treatment legislation. The cases are decided on a written basis. The decision of the board is published in an anonymous form.


It is possible for anyone to approach the board. A complaint to the board is free of charge and only requires the submission of a written complaint. The board has published a complaint form on the internet.


As a starting point, employees covered by a collective agreement must use the industrial system. However, it is possible for the Equal Treatment Board to accept cases filed by employees covered by collective agreements, if the employee’s organisation does not wish to accept the case.


The board expects a case processing time of approximately 5 months.


The decisions of the Equal Treatment Board concerning companies

 The Equal Treatment Board may decide that an employee who has been unjustly treated is eligible for economic compensation. The compensation is determined according to equal treatment legislation.


Furthermore, the board may overrule an unjust dismissal, if it is considered reasonable for the employment to be recommenced. This will be judged individually in each case.


The decision of the Equal Treatment Board is final and binding on the parties. This entails that a company must comply with the board’s decision, also if the company has not participated in the process.


If a company does not comply with the board’s decision, the board is obliged to take the case to court upon request from the injured party. However, the board does not automatically follow up on whether the decision is being observed. It is therefore the injured employee’s own responsibility to make an application to the board.


The procedure requires that the company in question is consulted regarding the complaint. After an employee has filed a complaint about a company with the board, the board will consult with the company.


If the company does not answer the board, the board may make a decision as matters stand. Thus, the company runs the risk of being judged on an incomplete foundation, if it ignores a request from the Equal Treatment Board regarding a complaint. It is therefore important that the company treats such requests seriously and takes due time to answer and defend the complaint.


With the establishment of the Equal Treatment Board, employees have gained easier access to having complaints on differential treatment heard. This emphasizes that it is necessary for the companies to observe equal treatment legislation in relation to their employees.


If you have questions regarding the above or require additional information on differential treatment within the labour market, please contact attorney Dan Moalem ( or attorney Christina Lund (


The above does not constitute legal counselling, and Moalem Weitemeyer Bendtsen does not warrant the accuracy of the information. With the above text, Moalem Weitemeyer Bendtsen has not assumed responsibility of any kind as a consequence of a reader’s use of the above as a basis of decisions or considerations.