Prohibition on discrimination in the working world

Sign language videoAustrian sign language


In general, these rules also apply to entrepreneurs from EU Member States in Austria.

The prohibition on discrimination in the working world on the basis of a disability is regulated by the Disability Employment Act.

Protection against discrimination on the basis of a disability applies

  • during an employment relationship (including the initiation, establishment and termination thereof)
  • in what is known as the wider working world (vocational training, career guidance, interest groups, self-employed activities).

Direct or indirect discrimination is prohibited, in particular:

  • when establishing the employment relationship (advertising, recruitment)
  • when fixing pay (salary or wage)
  • when the employer grants voluntary social benefits
  • during training, further training and retraining measures
  • in relation to career development
  • in other working conditions
  • when terminating the employment relationship
  • when accessing career guidance, vocational training, workplace training and retraining outside of an existing employment relationship
  • in relation to membership or participation in an interest group for employees or employers or a professional association
  • when using the services of interest groups or professional associations
  • when practising self-employed activities.

It is not only persons with disabilities that are protected by the prohibition on discrimination, but also persons in a close relationship therewith (e.g. dependants). Harassment due to a disability is also a form of discrimination. Indirect discrimination may also exist when barriers have a disadvantageous effect.

Employers are required to take appropriate measures to enable persons with disabilities to access employment, to practice their profession, to develop their career and to participate in training and further training measures.

A reasonableness clause is in place to ensure that the requirement to create a barrier-free environment does not result in unjustified economic hardship. When assessing whether discrimination exists, the proportionality of a measure is evaluated using various different criteria, such as, for example, the required effort, the economic performance and the amount of time since the law came into force.

Please note

The protection against discrimination afforded by the Disability Employment Act only applies in the area of federal competence. As regards state and municipal departments, a comparable degree of protection against discrimination is provided for in the respective state laws.

When it comes to enforcing the law, there is always the possibility of bringing action for damages, with the option to eliminate the discriminatory situation being available in some cases. Discriminatory terminations of employment relationships may be challenged before the court. Civil servants must assert their claims before the administrative authority.

Arbitration proceedings must always be carried out before the arbitration service ( SMS)German text of the Ministry for Social Affairs (previously the Federal Social Welfare Office) prior to bringing an action. The aim is to promote out-of-court settlements as a low-threshold route to access the justice system, in order to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings. The possibility of mediation by independent mediators may also be exercised free of charge as part of the arbitration procedure.

The regional offices of the arbitration service of the Ministry for Social Affairs are also points of contact for all matters relating to equality and for both companies and also persons with disabilities.

Further information on protective provisions under labour law for employees with disabilities and on the selection of representatives for disabled persons can be found at You can also find information on subsidies for employers that recruit persons with disabilities on our website. On elections for representatives of disabled people ( AK)German text you find information from the Chamber of Labor.

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 24 March 2023

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection

Rate this page and help us to improve.