“Equal training opportunities” is one of the goals of the Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA, SR 412.10). The principle of gender equality was introduced in the Federal Constitution in 1981; the Gender Equality Act (EqA, SR 151.1) came into force on 1 July 1996. EqA applies to all occupational activities.

The Gender Equality Act prohibits any form of discrimination between male and female workers due to their gender. Employers must not infringe EqA provisions in employment contracts.

  • Gender should not play any role whatsoever in the decision to hire a person.
  • Men and women are to receive the same salary for work of equal value.
  • Men and women should be protected against sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • Men and women are to be treated equally when delegating tasks and giving promotions.
  • Men and women cannot be fired if they complain about discrimination under the terms of EqA.

The Gender Equality Act governs the procedure to initiate legal action either individually or with the support of an organisation. EqA establishes cantonal mediation procedures (conciliation procedures). The cantonal conciliation offices as laid down in the EqA can provide further information on this subject.