What is Discrimination?

According to the General Act on Equal Treatment (German abbreviation: AGG), discrimination is defined as less favourable treatment

The term discrimination also includes stalking, sexual harassment and bullying.


Discrimination functions as follows:

  • A characteristic is perceived

  • A person with that characteristic is classified as belonging to a certain group

  • Prejudices about the group are applied to the person


Both the General Act on Equal Treatment and the University of Kassel’s Directive on Protection against Discrimination and Sexual Violence refer not only to discrimination but also to disadvantage, because not every form of different treatment that results in a disadvantage is also discriminatory.

Disadvantage on the grounds of one (or more) protected characteristics without a legitimate justification is not permissible. Under exceptional circumstances unequal treatment in working life or daily business can be legitimately justified (e.g. as compensatory arrangements).