General information on equal treatment in the private sector


These rules apply to all EU citizens in Austria.

The requirement on equal treatment in the private sector is regulated by the Equal Treatment Act.

The prohibition on discrimination in association with an employment relationship in the private sector covers the following areas:

  • establishment of the employment relationship
  • fixing of salary
  • voluntary social benefits (e.g. loyalty bonuses, company canteens) that do not constitute salary
  • operational training, further training and retraining measures
  • promotions
  • other working conditions
  • termination of the employment relationship
  • (sexual) harassment.

There are also exemptions, however. For example, discrimination on the basis of age has not occurred if the unequal treatment:

  • is objective and appropriate
  • is justified by a legitimate aim, e.g. by a legitimate aim from the area of employment policy
  • and the means for achieving that aim are appropriate and necessary.

The prohibition on discrimination in the wider working world covers the following areas:

  • career guidance, vocational training, workplace training and retraining outside of an employment relationship
  • membership of an employees’ or employers’ organisation and recourse to the services of such organisations
  • creation, establishment or expansion of a company and commencement or extension of any other kind of self-employed activity
  • (sexual) harassment.

Discrimination within the meaning of the Equal Treatment Act also exists if a person                            

  • parental leave, part-time parental leave, change of working hours in accordance with the MSchG or the VKG                                         
  • Paternity leave under the VKG,                                 
  • care leave under the UrlG                                    
  • Reduction of working hours, end-of-life care, care of seriously ill children, care leave, part-time care leave in accordance with AVRAG                                           
  • Leave of absence for urgent family reasons, if an illness or accident requires immediate presence in accordance with AngG and ABGB                                 

is taken. In these cases, there does not have to be any discrimination on the basis of gender.

The Equal Treatment Act applies to employees, home workers and employee-like persons (e.g. independent contractors).

In the event of a violation of the requirement for equal treatment, those affected by discrimination may contact the Ombud for Equal Treatment for advice.


The obligation to comply with the requirement for equal treatment begins as soon as vacancies are advertised. Entrepreneurs, private employment agencies and the public employment service (AMS) are required to draft job advertisements using gender-neutral and non-discriminatory language, and to indicate the minimum salary to be expected for the advertised position in line with the collective agreement or as stipulated by law and readiness to pay overtime, if applicable.
In economic sectors that are not subject to a collectively agreed minimum wage, the salary that is to be used as a basis for negotiating the salary agreement must be indicated. This does not include employee-like persons and employees in senior management positions (e.g. directors). Provision is made for administrative penalties in the event of a violation.

More detailed information on the subject of "Sexual harassment at the workplace" can also be found at Further information on forms of discrimination (including, in particular, with regard to salary) can also be found at

Further links

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 19 March 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy