Discrimination Can Be a Crime
All people have the right to equal treatment. The fundamental rights protected by law are the same for all people in Finland, and discrimination can be a punishable offense under the Penal Code.
Discrimination is when a person is treated less favourably than others because of some aspect of their identity. Such aspects can include:
- ethnic or national origin
- state of health
- sexual orientation
- or some other characteristic of the person.
In Finland, discrimination is forbidden under the Constitution, the Non-Discrimination Act, the Equality Act, the Penal Code and several other acts. Victim Support Finland offers support and advice to victims of discrimination.
Being discriminated against gives rise to powerful emotions, and it can be difficult for the victim to know if the discrimination has been unlawful or not. The first step in judging the situation is to check that unequal treatment has indeed occurred, and that the reason for such treatment has been deemed unlawful by Finnish law.
“I wasn’t allowed into the restaurant because I’m in a wheelchair, even though there was room.”
“I was not served in the shop because I’m a Roma.”
“I’m bullied at work because of my sexual orientation.”
“I was refused insurance because I’m a foreign citizen.”
“I can’t get ahead in my career because the employer thinks I’m too old.”
Get Help from the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman
If you think that you may have been discriminated against, consider the following questions:
- Were you treated differently from others?
- Was the treatment unlawful discrimination?
- Why do you suspect that you were treated differently from others, based on your personal characteristics?
If you suspect that you have been discriminated against, you can contact the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can offer advice and help you clarify whether your suspicion is justified. If necessary, the Ombudsman will take measures to ensure legal protection for the victim. Victim Support Finland cooperates with the office of the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman.
The Non-Discrimination Ombudsman is an independent and autonomous authority whose job is to promote equality and combat discrimination.
Equality.fi Equality.fi is a database maintained by the Ministry of Justice. It contains information and tools for everyone interested in the promotion of equality and non-discrimination.