Topic 2 Scenario 2

Ms. A is a Roma person who cannot read or write English, but she can read and write Italian and is fluent in speaking both Italian and English.

She applied for a position of personal gym trainer for Italian people.

During the face to face interview the employer, realizing that Ms. A was a Roma person, asked her to take a written test in English and she failed. She therefore didn’t get the job.

Ms. A spoke to a friend about the happening and she suggested to address a lawyer or a Roma citizen labor union.

In your opinion, is this a case of direct or indirect discrimination?

Why? 

Answer: This case could hide an example of indirect discrimination because the employer asked a skill that, for the required position, is not strictly necessary unless he is able to show that the proficiency in reading and writing English is a “genuine occupational requirement” for the offered position.  And that Ms. A could have not carried out her duties effectively without that skill.

What do you think Ms A should have done, according to the legislation and jurisprudence on the specific action that you’ve learnt in the Modules 2 and 3?

Answer:

Ms A should have complained about the written test arguing that it was not necessary considering the job she applied for (a gym trainer for Italian people).

In a second step she should address a lawyer or a labour union.

 

If you were a union counsellor, what would you do if Ms A approached you to complain?

Answer:

I would try to contact the employer and make it clear that the company’s behaviour discriminated against Ms A and try to understand the reasons for the restriction.

I would try to find a dialogue with the employer to clarify the reasons for the restriction and make it clear that the behaviour may constitute indirect discrimination.

In the worst case I would write a formal letter to the employer setting out the facts and warning him of the consequences of the discrimination.