Bringing a quota requirement matter before the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal for hearing (TAS 211/2015, issued on 18 August 2015)

The Ombudsman for Equality was asked to bring the compositions of the Kela Social Insurance Institution Parliamentary Supervisory Council, Bank of Finland Parliamentary Supervisory Council, YLE Administrative Council and the Board of the Library of Parliament as well as the compositions of certain Parliamentary committees before the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal for investigation, as the quota requirement specified in the Equality Act has not been met where the members and deputy members of these bodies are concerned.

In her statement, the Ombudsman for Equality stated that, as specified in the Equality Act: "The proportion of both women and men in government committees, advisory boards and other corresponding bodies, and in municipal bodies and bodies established for the purpose of intermunicipal cooperation, but excluding municipal councils, must be at least 40 per cent, unless there are special reasons to the contrary.

If a body, agency or institution exercising public authority, or a company in which the Government or a municipality is the majority shareholder has an administrative board, board of directors or some other executive or administrative body consisting of elected representatives, this must comprise an equitable proportion of both women and men, unless there are special reasons to the contrary."

The Equality Act contains legal constraints. The Ombudsman for Equality cannot, for example, request an inquiry from Parliament in cases where the matter involves parliamentary activities that are connected with the duties of Members of Parliament.

The Equality Act also restricts the right of the Ombudsman for Equality to bring matters before the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal for hearing. The Ombudsman for Equality or a labour market organisation can bring cases involving violation of provisions in the Equality Act concerning discrimination and and discriminatory job listing practices before the Tribunal for hearing. Likewise, the Ombudsman for Equality can bring cases involving the failure to prepare plans for educational institutions and workplaces before the Tribunal for hearing. The Equality Act does not entitle the Ombudsman for Equality to bring matters concerning application of the quota provision before the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal for hearing.

It is for the above reasons that the Ombudsman for Equality cannot request an inquiry concerning this matter from Parliament or bring it before the National Non-Discrimination and Equality Tribunal.

27.04.2016