The Equality Ombudsman (DO) is a government agency that seeks to combat discrimination and promote equal rights and opportunities for everyone. In pursuit of this goal, the agency is primarily concerned with ensuring compliance with the Discrimination Act. This law prohibits discrimination related to a person’s sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
The Equality Ombudsman also monitors compliance with the Parental Leave Act and seeks to ensure that employees on parental leave are not treated less favourably at work.
The Government appoints the head of the agency, who is referred to as the Equality Ombudsman. The present Equality Ombudsman is Agneta Broberg.
The Office of the Equality Ombudsman was formed on 1 January 2009 when the four previous anti-discrimination ombudsmen were merged into a single body. The Equal Opportunities Ombudsman (JämO) dealt with gender-based discrimination, the Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination (DO) focused on discrimination related to ethnicity, religion or other belief, the Disability Ombudsman (HO) was responsible for combating discrimination relating to disability, and the Ombudsman against Discrimination because of Sexual Orientation (HomO) monitored compliance with the rules prohibiting discrimination due to a person’s sexual orientation.
The Equality Ombudsman has some 90 members of staff and a government appropriation of SEK 93 million for the year 2009.
The Ombudsman’s principal task is to ensure compliance with the Discrimination Act. The Ombudsman registers and investigates complaints based on the law’s prohibition of discrimination and harassment, and can represent victims in court free of charge.
The Ombudsman also investigates complaints from employees on parental leave who feel they have been treated unfairly for having taken such leave.
In addition, the Ombudsman exercises supervision by monitoring how employers, higher education institutions and schools live up to the provisions of the Discrimination Act requiring active measures against discrimination.
The Ombudsman’s other duties include raising awareness and disseminating knowledge and information about discrimination and about the prohibitions against discrimination, both among those who risk discriminating against others and those who risk being subjected to discrimination. This means that the agency offers guidance to employers, higher education institutions, schools and others, and helps develop useful methods on their behalf. A further task is to ensure, through awareness-raising initiatives, that everyone knows their rights.
In addition, the Ombudsman is required to draw attention and create debate around human rights issues. It also has special responsibility for reporting on new research and international developments in the human rights and discrimination field.
If you would like to contact the Equality Ombudsman, please use e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that you can't file a complaint regarding discrimination by using this e-mail address. Please use email@example.com.
The Discrimination Act (pdf)