3.4 Current policy and policy reinforcements – Domains
Segregation in education, the underlying causes and the right indicators for identifying segregation are subjects of current studies, which include policy simulations to discover effective interventions to combat segregation. Another study, conducted by the Dutch Education Council (Onderwijsraad) and the School & Safety Foundation, focuses on male and female stereotypes in education.
We have observed that the extent and impact of internship discrimination are out of line with the number of reports. Few pupils and students formally report internship discrimination and, if they want to do so, many of them do not know where to go. They also have little faith in the report being handled and ‘resolved’. Educational institutions and education professionals are struggling with the issue of internship discrimination as well, since they need to support their pupils/students but also depend on employers to offer internships.
The NCDR believes that the SBB, the agency responsible for registering reports of internship discrimination in senior secondary vocational education, should pay greater attention and offer more support to ‘victims’ of discrimination as facing actual or suspected discrimination greatly impacts young people.
Several studies are presently examining discrimination in the labor market. One of the completed studies is the Nudging in Recruitment and Selection pilot project, which revolved around the question whether minor adjustments to the recruitment and selection process could contribute to eliminating unconscious prejudice. The project yielded positive results. Another study, which is still ongoing, looks into the effectiveness of instruments in recruitment and selection procedures. This is a more in-depth study that follows on from the previous Delphi study. i The study will be finalized later this year and the results will be used to develop a digital guideline for companies with a specific focus on SMEs.
Employers, including the national government and social and educational institutions, are asked to include details of their efforts in the field of diversity and inclusion and in tackling discrimination and inequality (in the broadest sense, such as gender, cultural diversity, people with a disability, sexual orientation, and age) in their annual reports and management reports. Employers delivering outstanding performance can also be put in the spotlight through various initiatives.
Published and offered to Parliament in 2021, the results of the first national monitor identifying discrimination in the letting of homes revealed that prospective tenants with a name suggesting a Polish or Moroccan background were less likely to be invited to viewings than people with a name suggesting a Dutch origin. Real estate agents also turned out to comply with discriminatory requests on a large scale. As discrimination is not permitted in the housing market either and cannot be tolerated, awareness is a permanent point of focus. The Government will annually monitor changes in the net discrimination rate in the housing market by means of correspondence tests and mystery calls. Additional information about the obligations of landlords and real estate agents and the rights of home seekers and tenants has also been made available electronically, and an information campaign will be launched this year.
Responding to the second national monitor identifying discrimination in the letting of homes, conducted in 2022, the Minister for Housing and Spatial Planning intends to follow the recommendations and share the monitoring results with antidiscrimination agencies at a regional level to allow them to enter into targeted discussions with landlords and letting agencies in areas with high net discrimination rates. Regional data from the national monitor gives antidiscrimination agencies a point of reference when speaking with landlords and letting agencies about their obligation to prevent housing discrimination. The first monitor had already revealed that such conversations help raise awareness in the sector of problems associated with housing discrimination. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations will start discussions to identify antidiscrimination agencies that are willing to join the pilot project and to determine the project details. i
Using mystery guests and correspondence tests, municipal authorities themselves are also investigating the occurrence of discrimination in the letting of homes. They indicate that if these tests lead to a suspicion of discrimination, they are not properly equipped to take action against it. The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations previously commissioned a study to find out whether this type of investigation results warrants tougher action. This proved not to be the case, mainly because the tests are based on a fictitious profile and there are no specific victims.
Enforcement by municipal authorities
Municipal authorities indicate that the legal options for taking action are not adequate; not only in the housing market, but in other areas as well, such as the hospitality sector. Municipal authorities state that they have only few instruments at their disposal, if any, to enforce the prohibition of discrimination. The possibilities currently available for enforcement and the imposition of sanctions – for example by imposing penalties, withdrawing permits and licenses and initiating disciplinary procedures – should also be examined. Thorough consideration will have to be given as to how these can be used and whether, alongside these repressive measures, other solutions or a supplementary approach are needed in order to address these problems without resorting to criminal law.
Existing legal frameworks are insufficient to enable municipal authorities to tackle cases of incitement to discriminate. This is an unsatisfactory situation. The possibilities currently available for enforcement and the imposition of sanctions – for example by imposing penalties, withdrawing permits and licenses and initiating disciplinary procedures – should also be examined. Thorough consideration will have to be given as to how these can be used and whether, alongside these repressive measures, other solutions or a supplementary approach are needed in order to address these problems.
The quality of care people receive also turns out to depend in part on prejudice a healthcare provider, or even the healthcare system, harbors. Such prejudice may have disastrous consequences for people’s mental and physical health and is unacceptable.
The NCDR believes that further qualitative investigation should be conducted into the scope of discrimination in healthcare, including an investigation into the situation in care homes and in home care. It could be conducted through a knowledge program of the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development or it could be taken up by the State Commission.
Recommendations ensuing from investigations suggest that one way to resolve the issue is to appoint officers tasked specifically with identifying discrimination within care institutions, alongside a more individual and culturally sensitive work approach. i A separate research program should also be initiated into specific female disorders. More knowledge is needed within the educational programs for care professionals concerning cultural and gender differences and discrimination in general, as well as unintentional discrimination by some professionals.
The Ministry of Justice and Security provides annual grants to the Center against Internet Discrimination (MiND), the national contact point for reporting discriminatory statements on the internet. MiND annually publishes figures on the number of reports received. These figures are incorporated in the national report containing discrimination figures, which also includes figures provided by the police, antidiscrimination agencies and other parties.
Following a report, MiND performs an independent legal review to determine whether a specific statement is indeed discriminatory and punishable. If so, MiND sends the relevant platform a request to remove the statement. The Public Prosecution Service may also decide to prosecute persons who have posted discriminatory statements or the public prosecutor may demand that the platform remove the illegal content. Having been allocated more tasks with effect from 2022, MiND will ensure that the website www.mindnederland.nl will become accessible in other languages as well, that people making reports can be referred to contact points of other countries, and that a referral page for victims is set up that refers them to appropriate aid or counseling. In 2022, MiND will also actively seek to collaborate with interest groups, the IT industry, antidiscrimination agencies, the police and the Public Prosecution Service to combine indications of discrimination and bring them to the attention of the partners in the chain.
In order to increase willingness to report discrimination and to gain better insight into online discrimination, its scope and other factors, it is important to clearly identify where online discrimination and online hate speech can be reported. Both the awareness of MiND and the findability of the organization as the central contact point for reporting online discrimination should be improved. Greater attention should also be paid to further underpinning and professionalizing the level of knowledge available at all relevant organizations for reporting online discrimination, such as the police and the antidiscrimination agencies. An even broader and better understanding of all reports of online discrimination (by MiND, the police, antidiscrimination agencies and other parties) should follow from an exploratory study of how these reports can be collected and merged for inclusion in annual reports on discrimination figures.
At both national and international level, a substantial amount of knowledge has been gathered and good and bad practices are available about online discrimination and online hate speech and how these expressions of discrimination can be combated. Investigations are currently underway to decide how to establish a knowledge base to compile this knowledge and these practices and how to use and provide access to the information, which includes a consideration of whether a central hotline facility, a knowledge institute or another organization should be responsible for the knowledge base.
The possible use of peer-to-peer education as a means of tackling online discrimination and online hate speech is being investigated in more detail, including studies into online awareness and the setting of social standards on the internet.
A TNO study of interventions aimed at reducing labor market discrimination and increasing diversity. See also https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2020/06/25/delphi-studie-stand-der-wetenschap-arbeidsmarktdiscriminatie.
Letter to Parliament of June 29, 2022 on tackling housing discrimination, Parliamentary Documents II 2021-2022, 30 950-922.
Discriminatie en Gezondheid, Over de invloed van discriminatie (in de zorg) op gezondheidsverschillen en wat we hieraan kunnen doen, Dutch Center of Expertise on Health Disparities Pharos, 2022, p. 35.