Antidiscrimination laws are central to processes of inclusion, exclusion and the quality of participation at the workplace. However, experience and reason dictate that one must question what these laws mean in practice for victims of employment discrimina tion. The assessment of the operation, effectiveness and legal coherence of these laws is indispensable to the formulation of a rational public policy and future government initiatives. The main aim of the project is to carry out a legal analysis of decis ions of the newly-created Discrimination and Equality Appeals Board and to assess the effectiveness and legal coherence of Norway's antidiscrimination laws as practiced by the Board in addressing ethnic, disability and gender discrimination in employment.
Some of the main themes of the analysis (and challenges facing the new Board) will be: (1) the practical application of the concept and proof of indirect discrimination where no statistical evidence is available, (2) the shifting of the burden of proof, (3) the weight to be allocated employer justification defenses such as business efficiency versus equality concerns, (4) the ability to address more systemic or structural forms of discrimination and (5) the transparency of the Board's reasoning.
In eac h of these situations the Board will have to choose how it shall apply the law in practice. The choices made may have impact on the effectiveness of the antidiscrimination laws and on the legal coherence and certainty of the laws; they may determine wheth er the Board's practice is in conformity with the practice of Norwegian courts, EU and EFTA courts, as well as international human rights treaty enforcement bodies. The project's conclusions will help to inform public opinion, public policy, human resourc es management and enforcement body decision-making of the challenges in addressing employment discrimination and the types of measures necessary to effectively promote equality at the workplace.