“Danish foreman” case

Concerning The Documentation and Advisory Centre on Racial Discrimination vs Denmark for violation of articles 2, 4, 5 and 6 of CERD.

A private company, “Torben Jensen A/S”, published a job advertisement in the Danish newspaper “Jyllands Posten”. The advertisement read as follows: “The construction company BAC SIA seeks Danish foreman who, in cooperation with a Latvian construction expert, will be assigned the general responsibility of….”

The petitioner reported the incident to the Chief Constable of the police arguing that the words “Danish foreman” in the advertisement amounted to discrimination on the ground of national or ethnic origin. The police decided to dismiss the complaint by saying that “What is sought for the position in Latvia is a Danish resident, and this person could easily be of an ethnicity other than Danish.”.

According to the petitioner, it was irrelevant whether the company had actually intended to recruit a Danish resident, as the decisive question was whether the wording of the job advertisement could be perceived as indicating a preference for a foreman of Danish origin. Therefore, the petitioner appealed to the Regional Public Prosecutor. The prosecutor dismissed the appeal. Thus a complaint was sent to CERD.
The committee notes that while the discrimination of all persons of non-Danish origin in job advertisements is prohibited, whether they apply for a vacancy or not, it does not automatically follow that persons not directly and personally affected by such discrimination may claim to be victims of a violation of any of the rights guaranteed in the Convention. In the absence of any identifiable victims personally affected by the allegedly discriminatory job advertisement, whom the petitioner would be authorized to represent, the Committee concludes this communication to be inadmissible.

21. November 2023

CERD 28/2003
  • Decision: 28. August 2003
  • Comm: Race