Policy for the protection against discrimination at the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society based on the General Equal Treatment Act (German abbreviation: AGG)
The following courtesy translation is not legally binding. It is provided solely for the information of non-native speakers of the German language.
According to its mission statement, the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society advocates values such as mutual respect, appreciation, lively diversity, and equal opportunities. Reflection, shaped change, dialog orientation, openness, the ability to criticize and take criticism, and participation at the study and workplace are of central importance to it.
In this sense, it emphasizes that no one is discriminated within university life due to their gender, looks, ethnic origin, social or educational background, age, disability, sexual orientation, or identity, religion, worldview, or political conviction.
As a part of our university culture, the personality and perspectives of each individual are respected, and their dignity is valued. This includes the university's constructive examination of discrimination, the early detection and approaching of discrimination, the counseling and support of people affected by discrimination, and encouraging them to report such cases.
This policy aims to protect against disadvantages in the sense of discrimination, harassment, stalking, and bullying. Furthermore, it aims to create conditions to prevent discrimination. This includes pointing up transparent procedures and possible sanctions.
 Women, men and trans* persons
 Discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin includes racially motivated discrimination, e.g. due to physical characteristics or cultural practices.
§§ 1 -2 Scope of application, Guiding principles
§ 1 Scope of application
(1) The policy applies to the members of the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society as well as to guest students and lecturers according to the Constitution of the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society and the Higher Education Act (German abbreviation: HochSchG) in its current version.
(2) It shall be applied in the event of discrimination, harassment, stalking, and bullying on university grounds or in the practice of official duties respectively of obligations related to the curriculum of the course of study if at least one person involved belongs to the group of persons referred to in paragraph 1.
§ 2 Guiding principles
The Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society defines the following guiding principles for the protection against discrimination.
(1) Within the framework of its area of responsibility, Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society, particularly the management of university, administration and departments, is actively committed to respecting and protecting personal rights of all persons according to § 1 paragraph 1, irrespective of gender, looks, ethnic origin, social background, age, disability, sexual orientation or identity, religion, worldview, or political conviction.
(2) All persons referred to in § 1 sentence 1 contribute to the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society being and remaining a place of study and work characterized by tolerance, openness, and mutual respect.
(3) The university has to take measures necessary to ensure protection against disadvantage. Within the scope of its possibilities and in counselling with the affected persons, it will proceed against those persons who verifiably violate this policy.
(4) Affected persons are encouraged to exercise their rights and to report experienced cases of discrimination, harassment, stalking, or bullying to obtain counseling and to submit complaints. Likewise, also uninvolved persons are encouraged not to ignore any incidents they witness or become aware of but to provide help to the persons affected.
(5) The Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society procures that there will be no disadvantages for persons submitting complaints or for witnesses.
§§ 3 - 4 Prohibition of discrimination, Definitions
§ 3 Prohibition of discrimination
Disadvantage respectively discrimination on any of the grounds referred to under § 2 (1) are prohibited. Also prohibited are sexual harassment, stalking, and bullying.
§ 4 Definitions
The definitions stated below complement, among other things, the concepts of the definitions of discrimination within the meaning of § 3 AGG and serve to a better clarification of the cases that come within this policy. However, they do not represent an exhaustive catalog.
1. Disadvantage respectively discrimination
(1) Direct disadvantage respectively discrimination shall be taken to occur where one person is treated less favorably than another is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the grounds referred to under § 2 (1).
Direct discrimination on grounds of sex shall also be taken to occur in the event of the less favorable treatment on account of pregnancy or maternity.
(2) Indirect discrimination shall be taken to occur where an apparently neutral provision, criterion or procedures would put persons at a particular disadvantage compared with other persons on any of the grounds referred to under § 2 (1). An exception is made if the concerning provisions, criteria or procedures are objectively justified by a legitimate aim and the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.
Harassment constitutes a form of disadvantage respectively discrimination. Harassment shall be taken to occur when a person’s dignity is violated e.g., through insults due to a characteristic mentioned under § 2 (1), and an environment of hostility, humiliation, degradation or offense is created or is intended to be created.
3. Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment shall be deemed to be discrimination, when an unwanted, sexually determined behavior takes place with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the person concerned. This includes the following actions in particular:
a. displaying, circulating or showing images of sexist content (e.g. posters, screensavers, calendars, software),
b. sexist scribbles on the campus,
c. a sexist addressing of people (including the unwanted use of “terms of endearment”) and insulting expressions,
d. unwanted verbal sexual advances,
e. sexually obscene remarks, notes, utterances, jokes, comments about other persons, their looks or their body,
f. unwanted, unnecessary physical contact,
g. requests for sexual acts,
h. threat of violence, chasing, coercion,
i. physical assault and rape.
4. Instruction for a discrimination
An instruction to discriminate against a person on any of the grounds referred to under § 2 (1) shall be deemed as discrimination. Such an instruction shall be taken to occur where somebody instructs another person to act in a manner which discriminates or can discriminate against a different person on one of the grounds referred to under § 2 (1).
"Stalking" refers to the deliberate and repeated chasing, tracking, harassing of a person such that their way of life is severely impaired or whose safety is threatened. Stalking occurs in many different forms, especially in:
a. unwanted phone calls, SMS, messages, social media postings, e-mails – at all times of the day and night –,
b. unwanted “expressions of love” such as love letters, flowers, gifts,
c. order of parcel deliveries in the name of the victim,
d. physical presence as well as chasing and lurking, for example in front of the residence, the workplace or the supermarket,
e. false accusations, for example towards the employer,
f. interrogation of the affected individual’s social circle,
g. criminal property damage,
h. insults, slander,
i. threats, coercion,
j. unwanted actions in social media (e.g. cyber stalking).
Bullying can be understood as systematic and repeated hostility, harassment and exclusion, with the aim or consequence that the person(s) being bullied is/are intimidated, disparaged, and excluded from their study or work environment. Bullying can manifest itself particularly in the following verbal, non-verbal or physical actions:
a. spreading rumors about employees, lecturers, professors or students,
b. systematic withholding of study- or work-relevant information,
c. refusal of study- or work-relevant contact, exclusion from conversation,
d. assigning meaningless, offending, unsolvable, health-damaging or no tasks at all by people with leadership or supervising duties,
e. insults, dishonoring and humiliating treatment,
f. threats, coercion, humiliation in front of other people,
g. deliberately causing stress,
h. bodily conflict up to direct violence.
i. Unwanted actions in social media (e.g. cyber bullying).
§ 5 The particular obligation of persons with leadership or mentoring duties
Members of the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society with staff responsibility and/or leadership, educational and qualification functions in teaching, research, administration and self-governance have the particular obligation:
1. to contribute through their behavior to promoting an appreciative and non-discriminatory interaction among each other and to respecting the integrity of all employees and students.
2. to ensure that disadvantage respectively discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, stalking and bullying during studies as well as at the training and work place is not directed against dependents and subordinates.
3. to pursue complaints about and indications of cases of discrimination, harassment, bullying and stalking without bias, to support those affected or to provide them with appropriate help and to seek possible solutions.
§ 6 Preventive measures
The university develops preventive measures. Prevention measures include, among other things,
(1) Preparation and distribution of information materials
Target group-specific information materials are prepared for the group of persons mentioned in § 1 (1) and distributed, among other things, at the commencement of work and studies.
In counselling with the human resources development and according to the possibilities of the university, trainings are offered for the university employees. This particularly applies to the group of employees who are committed in terms of §§ 8-9 as well as the management staff.
Additionally, it will be examined to which extent learning units on the AGG and the policy can be integrated into already existing in-house events.
(3) Safety on the university campus
The Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society works towards avoiding or reducing areas of fear in terms of harassment and violence.
(4) Coordinating body for equal opportunities and diversity:
The coordinating body for equal opportunities and diversity commits itself to the protection against discrimination and pursues the impulses listed below:
a. developing and initiating measures for the prevention of discrimination, establishing of a counselling network in cooperation with the human resources development,
b. professionalizing anti-discrimination counseling,
c. raising the awareness within the university for the protection against discrimination,
as well as
d. creating networks of the institutions involved, according to §§ 8-9, with one another.
§ 7 Structure of the Complaint Procedure
(1) The complaint procedure consists of counselling (=non-formal procedure) and/or a complaint to the complaints body (=formal procedure).
(2) During the course of conflicts of any kind – regardless of whether a formal complaint procedure has been initiated or not – persons according to § 1 (1) may make use of a conflict resolution procedure with the consent of the person submitting complaints.
§ 8 Non-Formal Procedure (= Counselling and Support of Complaint and Conflict Resolution Procedure)
(1) All persons referred to in § 1 have access to a number of contact persons they can go to for counselling. They demonstrate measures of protection and possible actions that may be taken against disadvantage or discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, stalking and bullying. The contact persons according to paragraph 4 support affected persons in exercising their concerns. If complaints are issued in a verbal form, this includes supporting persons affected in wording their complaints in written form, if they express the need for help.
(2) If the person submitting a complaint expresses the need for help, then all persons referred to in paragraph 4 may also assist them in discussions within the conflict resolution or within a formally initiated procedure.
(3) All counsellings according to paragraph 1 are confidential unless the person submitting the complaint dispenses the counselling persons from their obligation to secrecy. This also applies in respect to the complaints body referred to in § 9 (1).
(4) The following are contact persons available to persons affected within the scope of non-formal complaint procedure:
a. members of the staff council,
b. coordinating body for equal opportunities and diversity:
· equal opportunities office,
· diversity management,
· representative for severely disabled employees,
c. representative for the concerns of students with disabilities,
d. liason lecturer,
e. vice dean for study and teaching within the Department of Social Work and Health Care.
(5) Superiors, program directors, deans as well as liason lecturers are responsible for the conflict resolution or the conflict management. Within the Department of Management, Controlling and Healthcare the dean as well as the liaison lecturer take responsibility for the conflict management. The persons responsible for the conflict management conduct discussions with those persons involved in the conflict and record their findings. The aim is to ensure a continuing discrimination and conflict free collaboration in work and study.
§ 9 Formal complaint procedure (=complaint issued to the complaints body)
(1) The complaints body of the Ludwigshafen University of Business and Society according to § 13 AGG resides at the legal adviser’s office.
(2) Persons referred to in § 1 have the right to file a complaint at the complaints body and thus initiate a formal complaint procedure. The complaint is to be filed in a written form, or to be declared verbally for the record at the complaints body.
(3) The complaint has to describe the issues perceived as disadvantageous and discriminatory. Witnesses and, if applicable, evidence – as far as available – shall be stated. The complaint has to inform about other persons or bodies, e.g. executives, program directors, that have already been informed about the incident by the persons submitting complaints and if measures have already been taken.
(4) After the receipt of the complaint the person submitting complaints is informed about their rights, duties and the further procedure by the complaints body. They are referred to the support measures according to § 8.
(5) The complaints body will inform the accused person as quickly as possible and gives them the possibility to express themselves in either written on verbal form within an adequate time frame. A confidant may be consulted if the accused person wishes to do so.
(6) The complaints body investigates the issue. The complaints body informs the university’s governing board (president, vice president, chancellor) about the outcome and suggests further steps that may be taken.
(7) The complaints body documents all hearings as well as the detected facts and circumstances and informs both parties about the outcome of the investigation.
(8) The university’s governing board decides on any further measures and on any possible consequences according to § 10 of this regulation.
(9) Subsequently, all parties involved may seek for conflict resolution procedure. Superiors, program directors, deans as well as liason lecturers are responsible for the conflict resolution or the conflict management. Within the Department of Management, Controlling and Healthcare the dean as well as the liaison lecturer take responsibility for the conflict management. The persons responsible for the conflict management conduct discussions with those persons involved in the conflict and record their findings. The aim is to ensure a continuing discrimination and conflict free collaboration in work and study.
(10) If, after a formal complaint procedure, a conflict resolution is not successful, the employees of the university, professors as well as lecturers for special tasks who are involved in the conflict, have the possibility to make use of an externally conducted mediation. This is only possible if all parties agree.
§ 10 Sanctions
The following, among other, sanctions may be considered as a formal measure after misdemeanor has been attested with the involvement of the president or the according relevant persons or bodies, depending on the position of the accused person under labor, service or university law:
a. implementation of a formal official call,
b. initiation of a disciplinary procedure and imposition of disciplinary sanctions,
c. verbal or written warning,
d. letter of admonition,
e. termination with or without notice,
f. transfer to a different workplace within or outside the university,
g. exclusion of a lecture,
h. exclusion of the use of university facilities,
i. house ban,
j. retraction of enrolment,
k. criminal charge or criminal complaint by the president of the university.
The list does not claim completeness. The prerequisite and procedure of the individual sanctions shall be governed in detail by the relevant provisions.
§§ 11 - 13 Data protection, Evaluation, Coming into Effect
§ 11 Data protection
All persons involved are bound to discretion and regulations of data protection. They may only be made available personal data as is necessary in order for them to undertake and execute their assigned tasks. Passing on any data to third parties is only possible if the affected person has been informed thusly and if they have given written permission for a transfer to happen.
§ 12 Evaluation
This policy is evaluated annually by the university’s governing board and by those persons referred to in §§ 8-9. In order to do so, anonymous statistics about complaint procedures are maintained among other things.