Protection from Discrimination

a women with a headscarf, a wheelchair user and a couple of the same gender (under a big umbrella)

Do not put up with discrimination and racist violence – make use of advice services!

Berlin is a metropolis that is characterised by the diversity of its citizens. Open-mindedness, tolerance and mutual respect are important for coexistence to work well. However, cases of discrimination and racist violence also occur time and again. If you experience these, you can obtain advice and help.

What is discrimination?

Discrimination means a disadvantage or rejection on the grounds of certain attributes, for example:

  • Religion: A young Muslim woman cannot find an apprenticeship because she wears a headscarf.
  • Ethnic origin: A family that has fled to Berlin cannot obtain a rental agreement because they do not speak good German.
  • Gender: A woman earns less than her male colleagues – in the same occupation.
  • Residency status: A person cannot open an account due to having only a temporary residence permit.
  • Skin colour: A young man with a dark skin colour is not admitted to a club by the bouncer.
  • Disability: A person sitting in a wheelchair is asked to leave a restaurant because the person’s appearance is “disturbing the other guests”.
  • Sexual identity: Two men walking hand in hand are sworn at and insulted by passers-by.
  • Alter: Older people are assumed to be no longer able to work as well and they consequently have poorer prospects of finding a job.

§ What does the law say?

There is a law against discrimination: the general law on equal treatment.

Disadvantages on racist grounds or due to ethnic origin, gender, religion, ideology, a disability, age or sexual identity are prohibited (or: are not allowed).

Equal treatment is your right.

If you are disadvantaged in your working life or in access to goods and services – e.g. when looking for accommodation – on the grounds of one of the attributes mentioned, then you may be entitled to compensation for damages under the “general law on equal treatment”. You should take advice about this from a qualified advice service or specialist lawyer.

Discrimination – who can help?

In Berlin there is a good network of advice services. These advice services will discuss with you what is best to do in the discrimination case. Every step is agreed with you and all information is treated as confidential. Consultations are free of charge.

  • ADNB des TBB – Berlin antidiscrimination network of the Turkish association in Berlin-Brandenburg
    Oranienstraße 53, 10969 Berlin (U-Bahn station Moritzplatz)
    Tel.: (030) 6130 53 28 and fax: (030) 6130 43 10
    E-mail and internet
  • BDB – Federation for antidiscrimination and education work in the Federal Republic of Germany
    Sprengel Haus, Sprengelstr. 15, 13353 Berlin
    Tel.: (030) 216 88 84 and fax: (030) 219 96 896
    E-mail and internet
  • Age or disability antidiscrimination advice from Berlin state self-help association
    Beratungsstelle der Landesvereinigung Selbsthilfe Berlin e.V. (advice service of Berlin state self-help association)

    Littenstr. 108, 10179 Berlin
    Tel.: (030) 27 59 25 27 and fax: (030) 27 59 25 26
    E-mail and Internet
  • Senate department for health, care and equality (Discrimination on the grounds of gender)
    Department of women’s and equality policy
    Oranienstraße 106, 10969 Berlin
    Tel.: (030) 90 28 21 16 and fax: (030) 90 28 20 66

The Senate Department for Health, Care and Equal Opportunities offers written information on discrimination on the grounds of sex:

  • Berlin lesbian, gay, transgender network for equal treatment – against discrimination
    Tel.: (030) 23 36 90 80

Help for victims of racist violence

Anyone who has experienced violence should first contact the police. For victims of violence, there are also non-state counselling services in Berlin. There too, you can obtain help and support.

ReachOut is one counselling service for victims of right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence in Berlin, also providing support and counselling for family and friends of the victims and witnesses of an attack.

ReachOut – victim counselling and education against right-wing extremism, racism and anti-Semitism
Oranienstraße 159, 10969 Berlin
Tel.: (030) 695 68339 and fax: (030) 695 68346
E-mail and internet

This information has been compiled by the Berlin state office for equal treatment – against discrimination (LADS). Further information, addresses and contacts can be found in the advice guide and on the LADS website.