Federal Constitution | Federal Act on Gender Equality | Swiss Criminal Code | Higher Education Act

Federal Constitution

The Federal Constitution prohibits discrimination, notably on the grounds of gender.

Art. 8 Equality before the law

1 Every person is equal before the law.

2 No person may be discriminated against, in particular on grounds of origin, race, gender, age, language, social position, way of life, religious, ideological, or political convictions, or because of a physical, mental or psychological disability.

3 Men and women have equal rights. The law shall ensure their equality, both in law and in practice, most particularly in the family, in education, and in the workplace. Men and women have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.

4 The law shall provide for the elimination of inequalities that affect persons with disabilities.


Federal Act on Gender Equality

The Gender Equality Act (LEg) came into effect in 1996. It aims to make gender equality a concrete reality in the professional world. The key point is the prohibition of direct and indirect discrimination throughout the salaried working relationship (in both the private and public sectors), from recruitment to dismissal, including the distribution of tasks, working conditions, salary, continuing education and promotion.
Discrimination is unlawful, not only when it is based on gender, but also civil status, family situation or pregnancy. Sexual harassment at the workplace is one of the forms of discrimination that is expressly prohibited. Lightening the burden of proof (except for discrimination during recruitment and sexual harassment) and the capacity for organizations to take legal action are designed to make proceedings easier on the basis of this law.

The website was designed by the Conférence romande de l’égalité,, which brings together all the cantonal Equal Opportunities Offices in French-speaking Switzerland. The aim of the site is to raise greater awareness among the general public and professionals about equal opportunities law, case law and  legal opinion in this area. It also sets out the procedure to be followed in the event of a dispute coming to court.

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Swiss Criminal Code

The Swiss Criminal Code prohibits any discrimination on grounds of race or sexual orientation in the public domain.

Art. 261 bis  Discrimination and incitement to hatred

Any person who publicly incites hatred or discrimination against a person or a group of persons on the grounds of their race, ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation,

any person who publicly disseminates ideologies that have as their object the systematic denigration or defamation of that person or group of persons,

any person who with the same objective organises, encourages or participates in propaganda campaigns,

any person who publicly denigrates or discriminates against another or a group of persons on the grounds of their race, ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation in a manner that violates human dignity, whether verbally, in writing or pictorially, by using gestures, through acts of aggression or by other means, or any person who on any of these grounds denies, trivialises or seeks justification for genocide or other crimes against humanity,

any person who refuses to provide a service to another on the grounds of that person’s race, ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation when that service is intended to be provided to the general public,

is liable to a custodial sentence not exceeding three years or to a monetary penalty.


Higher Education Act


Art. 30 Requirements for institutional accreditation

1 For institutional accreditation, the following requirements must be met:


5. tasks are carried out in a manner that encourages equal opportunities and true gender equality


Projects Contributions

Art. 59

1 Multi-annual project contributions may be paid for expenditures that serve national higher education policy interests.

2 Tasks that serve national higher education policy interests include the following in particular:


e. measures to encourage equal opportunities and true gender parity


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