What is discrimination?

Discrimination is unequal treatment based on membership of a social group or a specific personal characteristic: social or ethnic origin, language, religion, gender or sexual and/or emotional orientation, age, disability, etc. Discriminatory unequal treatment results in disadvantaging people belonging to the targeted social group and violates their human dignity.

Examples of discrimination:

  • Refusing a service because of religious affiliation
  • Denigrating a category of people based on their affective and/or sexual orientation
  • Access to a service made impossible for people with disabilities
  • Caricature of a racist nature

Discrimination in all its forms is not tolerated under any circumstances at the University of Lausanne.

What is multiple or intersectional discrimination?

Multiple discrimination occurs when discrimination is based on more than one criterion at the same time (e.g. a physical characteristic or religious affiliation combined with gender, social class, disability or any other characteristic).

Intersectional discrimination occurs when several forms of exclusion interact and result in discrimination that would not otherwise occur. For example, a racist act against a woman can be manifested in a sexist way, or conversely, a sexist action can be linked to a racist motive.

What is racial discrimination?

Racial discrimination describes any act or practice by which people are unfairly disadvantaged, humiliated, threatened or their life or health is endangered on grounds of their physical appearance, ethnic origin, cultural characteristics and/or religious affiliation. Unlike racism, racial discrimination is not necessarily underpinned by ideological assumptions. Furthermore, it may be intentional, but it is also often not deliberate (e.g. indirect or structural discrimination).

For more information

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