Social Concerns

The ETD increases discrimination and decreases diversity

The aim of the ETD is to fight against discrimination and to achieve more diversity through the inclusion of the protected groups. But it’s likely that it will actually have the opposite effects.

Creating discrimination, not reducing it

The ETD contains ‘facially neutral’ provisions. These are provisions which don’t appear to be discriminatory but in practice they end up discriminating against, or disadvantaging, a group of people. Although the ETD seeks to attain equality and non-discrimination, practice shows that it would severely limit personal autonomy, freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, creating new forms of discrimination. Where similar laws have been adopted, charities or ethos-based businesses have been closed or forced to follow a policy different from that set out in the founding acts, businesses were sued and had their corporate image damaged because of unjust trials initiated by organizations merely seeking for compensation or embracing strategic litigation. Therefore, all these cases show how the apparently neutral provisions of the ETD would actually create new forms of discrimination by limiting personal autonomy and freedom of contract, and by censoring freedom of expression and manifestations of religious and non-religious beliefs.

Reducing diversity, not promoting it

The ETD would not allow room to run businesses and even charities in the way their founders wish to run them. Goods or services that may be offered to one target group, but not to all protected groups under the draft directive would be deemed discriminatory and could be banned from the market. Ethos-based businesses would not be free anymore to operate in line with their beliefs and identity. This would have the effect of reducing diversity in the area of goods and service provision by excluding a variety of business ideas, convictions, opinions, and views.

The ETD creates social suspicion and exclusion

By attempting to reduce discrimination, the ETD hopes to aid social cohesion. But if adopted, the ETD is likely to have the opposite effect and cause social breakdown.

It will exclude groups, not include them

The ETD would effectively shut down small organisations and businesses because they would not be able to cope with the high regulatory costs, bureaucratic burdens, and possible unjust prosecutions.

Society at large would also lose out by being deprived of beneficial goods and service providers.

It will create a climate of suspicion, not trust

If adopted, the ETD would create a climate a suspicion. This is because EU citizens would never be sure when they are acting within the confines of the law, or if they risk an imminent trial because of alleged discrimination.

Social cohesion would constantly be undermined by:

  • uneasiness and a fear of behaving naturally (because the actions or words could, at any time, be interpreted as “discrimination”)
  • the chilling effect on economic activity and freedom of speech
  • the feeling of being under constant scrutiny
  • fear of unjust prosecution
  • an intensified feeling of self-preservation
  • lack of trust in fellow citizens, friends or even family
  • inconsistent behaviour, since goods and service providers would not be allowed to act in accordance with their beliefs and deeply held convictions. The ETD would go so far as to force believers to choose between retaining their business and violating their conscience.

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