Iceland has just passed a landmark law that forbids multiples types of workplace discrimination, with daily fines to be meted out to offending employers.
The law in question, submitted to Parliament by Minister of Social Affairs Ásmundur Einar Daðason, expressly forbids discrimination in the labour market on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, personal philosophies, disability, impaired working ability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex characteristics or gender expression.
This sweeping measure applies not only to potential hires, but also to access to work-related classes, training, workplace decisions related to pay rises and promotions, and more. Any employer who violates this law can be subjected to daily fines until they rectify the matter.
The law was actually passed in accordance with existing laws and regulations of the European Union and the European Economic Area. As a bill, it received the support of numerous interest groups and labour unions.
Missing from the law is discrimination based on language. This clause was strongly recommended by both the Red Cross and the Women of Multicultural Ethnicity Network in Iceland, especially as immigrants from eastern Europe often fall prey to this form of discrimination while comprising the largest ethnic minority in Iceland, and as Norway already has such a law on the books.
This new law goes into effect on July 1.