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Complaints Office pursuant to Art. 13 General Act on Equal Treatment

Complaints Office pursuant to Art. 13 General Act on Equal Treatment

The purpose of the German General Act on Equal Treatment (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz – AGG), which entered into force in 2006, is to prevent or stop discrimination on the grounds of:

  • Race or ethnic origin
  • Gender
  • Religion or belief
  • Disability
  • Age or
  • Sexual orientation

Legislators have explicitly stipulated that employees have the right to lodge complaints.


A complaint lodged pursuant to the AGG may subsequently form the basis for employer measures and employee claims. In the meaning of the AGG, the term “employees” not only includes employees and civil servants, but also trainees, persons with the same status as employees, persons who work from home, persons applying for employment or whose employment relationship has ended.

We naturally also advise students, examine reports of discrimination and accept complaints from students who feel discriminated against.

The core element of the law is the prohibition of discrimination, which sanctions illegal discrimination against persons on the basis of one or more of the aforementioned criteria.

Discrimination may be direct (e.g. not being considered for recruitment) or indirect (e.g. through criteria for promotion) and may result from a person’s own actions or instructions from others. Similarly, harassment such as intimidation, hostility, humiliation, degradation or insults and sexual harassment are also considered to be unwanted sexually explicit behaviour. Remarks of a sexual nature are also considered to be a form of discrimination. A violation of the code of conduct set out in the Act may result in high compensation claims in the event of legal action before a Labour Court. Where employees violate the AGG through discriminatory behaviour, the employer is obligated to review and, where necessary, apply disciplinary and other consequences under labour law.

HHU welcomes the intention of the Act to prevent direct and indirect discrimination in education and employment. This also corresponds with practice at HHU to date. In addition, effective legal regulations relating to the criteria of “gender” and “disability” already exist the public sector.

Nevertheless, HHU views it as expedient to consider the aforementioned criteria in more detail and approach personnel decisions with greater sensitivity. All HHU employees are therefore called upon to familiarise themselves with the legislative text with a view to their daily work. Employees who hold supervisor functions are called upon and obligated to inform their employees about the AGG and its content.

HHU also offers training for its members, e.g. on implementing the AGG, which is primarily aimed at those in leading academic and administrative positions. The extensive range of training programmes also includes tailored courses for other employees.

Where can I lodge a complaint?

Where can I lodge a complaint?

Please submit complaints to:

Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
Central University Administration
Legal Unit
Building 16.11

Universitätsstr. 1
40225 Düsseldorf, Germany


You are also welcome to discuss your concerns with us in person.

Please agree an appointment for this. You are welcome to bring a person you trust with you to any such meeting.

Irrespective of the above, you may of course also contact the Central Equal Opportunities Officer, the employee representatives responsible for you or, in the case of discrimination on the grounds of disability, the representatives for severely disabled employees.

Complaints Office run by the patient representatives at the University Hospital

You can contact the Complaints Office run by the patient representatives at Düsseldorf University Hospital here (German only).


You can return to the representatives page here.

You can return to the Legal Unit page here.



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