Defend Yourself Against Discrimination
– What You Can do if You are a Witness –
The following article is an edited text from the Anitdiscrimination Organization in the State of Brandenburg. The title says it all...
Write down the personal details of the offended person and of all witnesses. You may use our questionnaire or call and inform the Antidiskriminierungsstelle. You do have a right to complain against any form of racist insult or attack to the police or try to get support from migrant organizations. If you know of any organization that will really receive your report, please share this information with others by "commenting" this article.
1.) Harassment and Insults in your House
Ask your neighbor if he/she is willing to act as a witness. In accordance with the opinion of the Anti-Discrimination Organization, Landlords are not only obliged to take care of your apartment but also of your well-being in the surrounding neighborhood. Tenants can switch apartments or give notice to their tenancy, if they are harassed by their neighbors because they are a foreigner.
2.) Poor Service in Shops – Denial of Admittance in Discos or Bars
You can complain at the Trade Supervision Office (Gewerbeaufsichtsamt). No or poor service for people of colour, immigrants or foreigners in general violates the rule of responsible management. This means that the authorities can fine the owner or even withdraw his business permit.
3.) Insults and Verbal Harassment
Everybody can register a complaint with the police or file a lawsuit, if somebody has been offended – be it the offended person him- or herself or any witness. The district attorney has to follow up on the case, if the verbal assault includes hatred against a special group of the population (e.g. foreigners as such, or black or Jewish people).
4.) Problems at Work
Ask your works council (Betriebsrat, Vertrauensleute) for support. If you are discriminated by your colleagues, it is considered as a "disturbance of the peace" in the company. When harassing “colleagues”, employees can be admonished or be dismissed without prior notice.
5.) A Policeman is not Taking up your Complaint
Ask for the name and personnel number of this officer; note the location, the date, the time of the incident. You can file your complaint in written form with the state attorney later at any time and best also at your local Commissioner for Foreigners (Ausländerbeauftragte) for support.
6.) Problems of your Children at School
Teachers are obliged to intervene, if there is any undemocratic behavior at school. Teachers themselves are not allowed to discriminate students. You can get support at the network for counseling schools (Beratungsnetzwerk Schule). The School Office (Schulamt) can help you to get in contact with the counselors.
Any questions left? Don’t hesitate to contact the „Anti-Discrimination Office" you will more on the laws and contact information helping you against discrimination and offices to support immigrants.