Discrimination in the labor market is a real problem that Finland still doesn’t want to face

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Institutional racism is a social ill that Finland has done too little to challenge. One of the areas where it happens mainly uncontested is in the labor market. IYou face many challenges ahead if you are lucky enough to get a job interview with your so-called foreign-sounding name.

Once you get through the door, the question is if you will be treated equally like the white Finnish employees.

Hamiid Hussein is a Finnish citizen who has lived in the country for a long time. He approached Migrant Tales as well as other representatives of the media about a far-right Perussuomalaiset* candidate running for office in the municipal elections who wanted a picture of his family.

You can read about the case here.

Hussein’s most recent complaint is about one of Finland’s biggest driving schools where he is taking a course to become an instructor.


There is a lot of discrimination in Finland’s labor markets, even at driving schools.

“The course started in February, but in March, it became clear how the management treated us, people of foreign background, differently from the [white) Finns,” he said. “Some of the offensive behavior towards me, and others like me, was speaking aggressively and with a raised voice.”

Husein said that he never saw the management treat Finns in the same manner.

“Their behavior was totally different,” he added. “They spoke to them with respect, which was the total opposite of how we were treated.”


Source: The Penal Code of Finland

Everyone knows or should know, that discrimination is illegal and can carry a fine or imprisonment for six months at the most if convicted. While many consider the response of the authorities to discrimination is grossly insufficient, what can an employee do if he’s treated badly?

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Työsuojelu) is a place to turn to if you have work-related issues like inappropriate behavior and discrimination. Even if Työsuojelu is supposed to help you, receiving the help and support you need is an open question. Do the employees at Työsuojelu have enough experience in treating discrimination cases?

If you belong to a union, the shop steward is another source you can turn to.

Finally, there is the Non-Discrimination Ombudsman, who only handles discrimination cases outside of the workplace. There is a hotline you can call from Tuesdays to Thursdays between 10 and noon.



Is this helpful advice for Hamiid?

What do you think?