Equal Opportunity Officer

The Equal Opportunities Officer promotes the equality and equal treatment of employees of different sex, origin, language, sexual and religious orientation as well as those with other differences.

Equality is a matter of course in every respect. Factors and processes restricting equality must be identified, communicated and systematically countered. The causes of unequal treatment are, however, almost always unknowingly and unintentionally anchored in our thoughts and actions and so structurally embedded in our everyday lives that we find ourselves reproducing them in our day-to-day dealings with one another. Therefore, equality work focuses on reacting to the various backgrounds and starting points of the employees in a targeted and needs-orientated way, as well as designing framework conditions and processes in such a way that we reduce unequal treatment, aspire to equal opportunities and can make positive use of employee diversity at the UFZ.

All employees, men and women, may be affected by unequal opportunity due to their life situation and may therefore benefit from equality policies. Yet employees not only reap the benefits of equality policies with respect to their individual personal and career development: providing a work environment where employees from a variety of backgrounds have scope to develop and contribute their diverse and specific perspectives is advantageous for all work and organisational units at the UFZ.

Laws and regulations form the background of equality work (General Equal Treatment Act, Federal Equality Law). However, given that the Federal Equality Law is not binding for non-university research institutions, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) decided on an Implementation Agreement, upon which equality work at the UFZ is based. Moreover, the UFZ agreed to its own Equality Plan in the summer of 2016, which lays down the objectives of the equality work at the UFZ.

As Equal Opportunities Officer, I pursue three key activities:

  1. Supporting the implementation and evaluation of the UFZ Equality Plan through discussion, advice, analysis, process support, proposals, motivation and argumentation.
  2. Raising awareness on the relevance and the causes of inequality; illustrating the endeavours and potential of the UFZ in order to achieve equality; expanding the equality perspectives to interpersonal diversity beyond the aspect of gender.
  3. Responsible fulfilment of regular tasks such as participation in selection committees and individual advice, reporting and statistics, networking and exchange, training and documentation of my work.

I am not the only one who is committed to a fair working environment for all employees at the UFZ:

The Family Office provides service and consultation opportunities on the compatibility of career and family, care-giving tasks as well as on dual careers. It Is also a contact partner as regards individual concerns linked to the topic of family. It is also responsible for the coordination and implementation of the objectives of the "berufundfamilie" (career and family) audit.

The International Office provides service and consultation opportunities for the purposes of orientation and integration into German working and living environments and is the contact partner for the individual concerns of foreign employees or guests.

The "Schwerbehindertenvertretung" (Representative Body for Disabled Persons) at the UFZ helps severely disabled people to participate in working life, represents their interests and is a contact partner for individual concerns.

The Ombudspersons are contact partners for all interests pertaining to good scientific practice and offer confidential discussions regarding questions and concerns on this topic, for example on suspicion of scientific misconduct.

The General Works Council represents the interests of employees towards the employer and is a contact partner for individual concerns.

The Equal Opportunities Working Group is an open group of interested employees from the UFZ who explore the possibilities and obstacles relating to equal opportunities in the workplace and who play an active role in improving equal opportunities at the UFZ by means of contributions and ideas.