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Diversity Charter

Definition

Objectives

European Union Directives

Legislation in Spain

Diversity Charter

As a result of the Directives that the European Union adopted in the year 2000 regarding equality and anti-discrimination, the General Directorate of Employment, Social Services and Equal Opportunities of the European Commission is leading various initiatives to encourage diversity management and inclusion in all organizations – public and private, with the objective of improving economic competitiveness, complying with legal requirements, as well as improving the professional and social quality of life of all the peoples residing in the European Union.

The creation of the “Diversity Charter Spain” is within the framework of the anti-discrimination directives of the EU and has the objective to encourage diversity management and inclusion practices in Spanish companies and institutions (of all sizes and from all sectors), as well as public entities (national, regional or local), as strategy to better efficiency and competivity. Another objective is to promote ongoing research and development on this theme; as well as training and education in the academic world, therefore promoting exchange of best practices amongst all groups.

A Diversity Charter is constituted by way of a “carta” (letter or code) whereby companies and institutions of any size from the same country, that sign it voluntarily, commit to encourage and adhere to fundamental principles of equality and respect towards the right to inclusion of all peoples, independent of their diverse profiles, within the working environment as well as in society. These companies and institutions acknowledge the benefits that cultural, demographic and social inclusion of an organization brings, and they commit to implement specific policies to enhance working environments free of prejudice regarding employment inclusion, training and promotion, as well as anti-discrimination towards minority groups.

The European Institute for Diversity Management (IEGD - Instituto Europeo para la Gestión de la Diversidad) is part of a consortium of the project: “The Business Case for Diversity in Europe”. Task 4 of this project researches the constitution, contribution and benefits regarding the three Diversity Charters operating presently in Europe, as well as the drivers and barriers to promote these Charters. The results will be presented on December, 10 and 11, 2008. Within the project the IEGD is also responsible for promoting the constitution of a new Diversity Charter in Spain.

Up to date, the European Commission has fostered the creation of three Diversity Charters, in France, Belgium and Germany, which are successfully operating today and doing an excellent job creating awareness in their respective countries.

Obtectives

  • Fulfill the request made by the General Directorate of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities,  to create Diversity Charters in all the Member States of the European Union – following up on the research made during 2008 by the consortium lead by Focus Consultancy, IEGD (Instituto Europeo para la Gestión de la Diversidad), EABIS (European Academy of Business Schools) and EIM (Business and Policy Research).
  • Disseminate information, generate awareness and foment working and social environment in Spain that are sensitive toward demographic and cultural diversity inclusion in its broadest sense (gender, age, race, nationality, sexual orientation, training, education, personal skills, etc.) and the impact of diversity inclusion on innovation, competiivity and the quality of living of people.
  • Contribute to stability and corporate and social sustainability through respect and positive inclusion of all peoples, independent of their diversity profiles, by eliminating conflicts, giving rise to innovation and efficiency, as well as quality of life employees at work and in society.
  • Offer tools to support companies that have signed the Charter, ie. Guides, newsletter, best practices, etc.
  • Achieve direct or indirect adhesion of Spanish companies to the Charter, no matter their size or scope, and encourage them to take specific action with follow- up on yearly results.
  • Establish a network of collaborators, including public entities, private companies, institutions, business schools, regions, cities, etc. committed to diversity inclusion.
  • Create a Web and organize events, forums, workshops and training related to diversity and inclusion to promote the spirit of the Charter

European Union Directives

At the European level, the Constitution clearly stresses the inclusvie vocation and inspiration on which to build unique space, with emblematic external symbols, a flag, a hymn and a slogan “United in Diversity”.

Discrimination against gender is strictly prohibited having its own legal framework in the European Union for over two decades.  Equality between men and women is a mainstream objective in all the community policies:

  • Directive 76/207/CEE, dated 9 February 1976, calls for equal opportunity and treatment between men and women regarding access to employment, training and professional promotion, as well as working conditions.
  • Directive 2002/73/CE, dated 23 September 2002, modifies the aforementioned directive regarding equal treatment between men and women, taking into consideration diversity of age, religion, family status, dependents (children and elders), nationality of origin and sexual orientation, and also introduces a summon to immediate implementation by the member states.
  • Treaty of Amsterdam, dated November 1997, by which the Board of Europe devoted a chapter to female inclusion in the employment markets, approving an ambitious European strategy with the objective of reducing unemployment and increasing the sustained rate of female employment, as well as establishing equal pay between men and women for the same job or position.

In this environment of recommendations; the Board advocates to establish personal-professional work-life conciliation policies, based on flexible time, distance work and other new ways of working, and measures for maternity and paternity support, that the Member States should implement within their real and cultural possibilities, and with the collaboration of all the economic and social agents.

The fight against discrimination constitutes one of the priorities of the European Union.  As a result of this interest, in the year 2000, the Board of the European Union approved two Community Directives or laws of significant transcendence:

  • Directive 2000/43/CE that prohibits discrimination on account of race or ethnic origin, conditions to access employment and exercise a profession, access to professional orientation and training, work and employment conditions, including dismissal and salary, affliation and participation in syndicates or business organizations, social protection, including social security and health care, social advantages, education and access to goods and services available to the public.

Directive 2000/78/CE, that prohibits discrimination against employment or occupation due to reasons of religion or belief, capacity, age or sexual orientation.  This second directive, like the previous one, is applicable to both the private and the public sectors, and refers especially to conditions to access employment and professional orientation and training, employment and work conditions and affiliation or participation in syndicate organizations or employer’s associations.  This directive contemplates, among many other aspects, the need for employer’s to adopt suitable measures – reasonable adjustments – to guarantee equality for persons with handicaps or disabilities

Legistalion in Spain (Highlights)

The legislation in Spain is the application of the Directives of the year 2000 to the specifics of the country, and is at a very advanced stage of implementation.

  • Law 52/2003 dated 20 December (BOE – Official State Bulletin of 31 December 2003) including tax measures, and administrative and social orders that gather and develop the European Directives that fight against discrimination, especially in pursuit of equality in treatment regarding employment and occupation.  This law defines the principle of equal treatment as the “absence of all and any direct or indirect discrimination for reasons of race or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation.”
  • Law 62/2003 is to guarantee equality in terms of treatment and modifies various articles of the following laws:
  • Worker’s Statute Law
  • Social Integration of the Handicapped Law
  • Worker Relocation-Displacement Law
  • Work Proceedings Law
  • Law on Infringements and Sanctions in the Social Order
  • Law 13/2005, dated 1 July, that regulates homosexual couples, modifying the Civil Code regarding the right to contract matrimony.  Thus the rights of homosexual couples are put to level with others in all fields in society and work.
    • Law on Equality approved in the year 2006, regulates the rights of diverse collective groups of the society in matters of personal-work life conciliation, as well as access to work and promotion, without discrimination due to gender, age, nationality of origin of legal residents, sexual orientation, religion and disability (within that established by rules in force).  The bill that regulates a 40/60 participation between men and women in decision making positions still needs to be passed.