Supermarket convicted of racism in dismissal
The store manager of the Intermarché in Klabbeek was guilty of racism when he dismissed a black employee. That was the ruling of the criminal court of Walloon Brabant. The manager dismissed the man because some customers ‘didn’t want to be served by a black person’. Unia was a civil claimant.
The court sentenced the manager to a two months’ suspended prison sentence and a fine of 1200 euro, half of it suspended. The Intermarché firm also received a fine of 3000 euro, half of it suspended.
Unia director Els Keytsman is satisfied ‘that the court, like Unia, ruled that it was in fact the skin colour of the employee that led to the dismissal’. She stresses that offences of this type contribute to racial discrimination in our society. The conviction is therefore a clear signal to employers with racist behaviour. In addition, the conviction gives a voice to those who experience the same thing, but don’t dare to question it.
Finally, Unia stresses the good collaboration with the labour prosecutor that supported the case by opening an investigation.
More employment discrimination cases reported to Unia in 2017
Last year Unia opened a total of 2,017 cases of situations where people felt they were the subject of discrimination. This represents a 6% increase over 2016 (1,907 cases). Instances of employment discrimination were the most frequently opened cases at Unia.
Unia reacts to the report on discrimination by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA)
Out of all survey-respondents of North African and Turkish origin who experienced discrimination in the past year in Belgium, 20% said it had occurred on the job market, while the European average on this point is 12%. This figure was brought to Unia’s attention in the Second EU-MIDIS report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
Why safe spaces are essential for marginalised groups
Differentiation on the basis of skin colour is never permissible. There is not the slightest doubt about that.
What is the Achbita case?
In 2006, S. Achbita was fired when she started wearing a headscarf at work. The case came before the Labour Court of Antwerp (2009), the Court of Cassation (2015), the Court of Justice of the European Union (2017) and the Labour Court of Ghent (2020). Below you can find a full chronology.