FOSTERING DIVERSITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION IN SLOVAKIA (PRODISLO)
This project is funded by the European Commission’s 2014-2020 Programme – Equality, Rights, and Citizenship.
Implementation period: 4/2020 – 12/2021
Project partners: Pontis Foundation, European Community Studies Association (ESCA)
Description of the project:
Despite the growing diversity of the Slovak society, prejudice and intolerance are still prevalent. According to a PwC Slovakia survey, 97 % of companies participating in the survey regard diversity and inclusion as one of their corporate values. However, more than half of these businesses (55 %) view these topics as a marketing tool for strengthening their labor market position. According to the PayLab Diversity study, 44 % of Slovak male and female employees have no experience with diversity in the workplace. If they have such experience, it is typically with mothers with small children, the elderly, or foreigners. While mothers and the elderly are positively perceived in the workplace, members of the LGBTIQ+ communities, people with disabilities and ethical minorities are perceived negatively.
According to a nationwide survey conducted by a civil society organisation Iniciatíva Inakosť (Initiative Otherness), 66 % of LGBTIQ+ male and female respondents are afraid to go to work, and 36 % of male and female respondents report having had a negative work experience related to their sexual orientation. Several multinational employers, in particular, support social and communication activities centered on the inclusion of male and female LGBTIQ+ employees in the workplace. However, systematic measures to adapt the workplace to the needs of LGBTIQ+ employees (e.g. adoption of appropriate recruitment policies, privacy safeguards or the use of inclusive language) are frequently lacking, even among large employers. This is primarily due to a lack of technical or human resources.
Persons with disabilities
When it comes to persons with disabilities, many employers in Slovakia fail to meet their obligations and refuse to hire them. Rather, they seek out various types of subsidiary fulfillment. More than half of employers who employ people with disabilities, according to the Institute for Labor and Family Research, make the type or extent of the disability a condition for employment. Many employers lack experience in creating jobs for people with disabilities and they frequently associate them with high costs or other challenges.
The high rate of unemployment among Roma men and women is concerning. In 2017, Roma men and women made up to 28% of the total number of unemployed people in Slovakia. Long-standing prejudice and discrimination against Roma men and women in Slovakia is the key barrier to their employment and inclusion in the workplace. The type of enterprise or employer where marginalized Roma are employed varies. The lack of qualifications of Roma male and female applicants, as well as their working habits, are the most significant barriers for larger employers and multinational corporations. It is primarily the prejudices of management and other employees in small and medium-sized businesses.
The project’s objectives:
All vulnerable groups require a diverse and non-discriminatory working environment. Employees are more innovative, productive, and creative in problem solving when there is a culture of mutual respect, trust and empathy. It is also a useful tool for improving employee relations.
Given employers’ limited understanding of diversity in the workplace and male and female employees’ limited experience with diversity in the workplace, this project aimed to increase public awareness of diversity and non-discrimination in the workplace, build employers’ capacity to create, manage and maintain genuine diversity in the workplace, and measure and assess diversity in their respective workplace on a regular basis.
The project’s outputs:
- Blended learning programme (online/offline) for employers – Introduction to Diversity and Non-Discrimination Management.
- Training activities (10 training activities) for public sector employers.
- International workshop at the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021: Measuring Diversity and Equality in the Workplace.
- Communication campaign called “For Nice Mondays”.
- Supporting Initiatives for Diversity Charter members (4 events).
- Case study on equal treatment, diversity and related measures in Slovakia.
- Tool for measuring diversity in the workplace – Diversity Index.