Understanding the Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567) & its Implications for websites!

By: Skynet Technologies USA LLC
8 mins
Sweden Website Accessibility

The Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567) is a piece of legislation that aims to promote equality and prevent discrimination in various aspects of society including the digital realm. For website owners, compliance with this act is essential to ensure fair and inclusive online environments due to increasing dependability on digital products and services.

This article will delve into the key facets of the Swedish Discrimination Act and discuss its needs for the websites.

Background and purpose of Act 2008:567

Enacted in 2009, the Swedish Discrimination Act was a significant step toward creating a more inclusive and equal society. The primary purpose of this act is to prevent discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, sexual orientation, and age. It applies to both public and private sectors, emphasizing the importance of equality in all areas of life.

The act was amended on January 1, 2017, with some required changes. After this update, educational institutions and all employers ought to take active measures about all ‘protected characteristics’ to prevent discrimination within the organizations.

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Important pointers from the Swedish Discrimination Act

  • Application to digital spaces

    As the internet plays an increasingly central role in people’s daily lives, the Swedish Discrimination Act extends its reach to digital spaces including websites. Organizations must be aware that discriminatory practices, even unintentional ones, can lead to legal consequences. For example, inaccessibility in content and user interactions that may exclude certain groups of people by exploring their desired online content.

  • Content and communication

    Website owners must ensure that the content on their website is free from digital barriers that are the culprits for inaccessibility. For example, text, images, and multimedia content that could potentially marginalize or offend users with disabilities. It is crucial to foster an inclusive online environment where all users feel welcomed and respected. Regular audits of website content can help identify and rectify any discriminatory material.

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  • User interactions and accessibility

    The Swedish Discrimination Act also emphasizes the importance of fair and equal treatment in user interactions on websites. This means that organizations should take measures to prevent discriminatory behavior in user comments, discussions, and any other interactive features of websites/applications.

  • Employment opportunities and advertising

    For websites that include employment opportunities or advertisements, it is essential to comply with the anti-discrimination provisions of the act. This includes ensuring that job postings are inclusive and do not discriminate based on the protected characteristics outlined in the legislation. Website owners should also be mindful of the language used in advertisements to avoid perpetuating stereotypes or exclusionary practices.

  • Education

    All educational institutes, universities are required to refer to the suggested guidelines and include them in the study materials offered online. There shouldn’t be any discrimination based on intellectual abilities.

Read its official document to learn more about the act.

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Organizations that ought to comply with Act 2008:567

As mentioned in the above section, all public and private sector organizations are required to follow the Swedish Discrimination Act including,

  • Information technology
  • All educational institutions including higher education
  • Health care services
  • Social services
  • Transport services
  • National armed forces

Consequences of non-compliance with the Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567)

A disabled user is entitled to file a complaint against websites that are not accessible within a certain time limit of their first interaction with the website. These complaints are to be filed before the board against discrimination.

Failure to comply with the Swedish Discrimination Act can result in legal consequences including hefty fines and potential legal actions. Website owners are expected to be proactive in understanding the requirements of the act and take steps to align their digital products with the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

Wrapping up

The Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567) extends its reach into the digital landscape, affecting website owners and their vendors. Creating an inclusive online environment free from discriminatory practices is not only a legal requirement but also contributes to a diverse internet community.

Organizations should familiarize themselves with the act’s provisions, regularly assess their content and interactions, and take necessary steps to ensure compliance. By doing so, they contribute to a more equitable digital space for all users.

Are your business website and other digital assets accessibility compliant? Or are you looking for guidance on Swedish web accessibility standards / Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567)? At Skynet Technologies, we provide website accessibility remediation services including accessible website design and development, audit, remediation, consulting, VPAT accessibility conformance report, PDF / document remediation, and support services that comply with accessibility regulations such as WCAG 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 level AA, Section 508, Swedish Discrimination Act (2008:567) within your budget. Reach out to [email protected] or request a free quote.