While measures already existed to combat discrimination in hiring, these were not effective in practice. The legislator intervened to reduce the conditions surrounding “mystery calls” in order to detect discrimination.
Four years ago, social inspectors received from the legislator the power to detect discrimination in hiring by means of mystery calls. Such discrimination corresponds to the differential treatment of potential workers, without objective and reasonable justification with regard to the job to be filled.
Four years ago, social inspectors received from the legislator the power to detect discrimination in hiring by means of mystery calls. Such discrimination corresponds to the differential treatment of potential workers, without objective and reasonable justification with regard to the job to be filled. Within the framework of these mystery calls, the social inspector can pretend to be a worker or a potential worker in order to check whether discrimination based on a legally protected criterion (for example: sex, age, origin or sexual orientation) is committed by the employer. Three cumulative conditions had to be met in order to be able to proceed with a mystery call: there had to be objective indications of discrimination, revealed following a complaint or report and which had to be supported by datamining and datamatching results . Datamining is a process used to extract usable data from a larger set of raw data while datamatching is the process of comparing two different sets of data and matching them to each other. In addition to this triple requirement, the law provided that the punishable acts (but exempt from punishment) committed by the social inspection (for example: forgery in writing, wearing a false name, etc.) should be less serious than the punishable acts research. Meeting all of these cumulative conditions was therefore almost never met, so that very few social inspectors used mystery calls to detect discriminatory behavior. To overcome this problem, the legislator decided to modify the conditions under which social inspectors can use it. Since May 8, 2022, these inspectors can now rely either on objective indications of discrimination, or on a substantiated complaint or report, or on the basis of datamining and datamatching results, in order to be able to make a mystery call . The accumulation of the three conditions is therefore no longer necessary. In addition, the legislator now considers that the punishable acts of social inspection must only be proportional to the objective pursued. It will no longer be required that the punishable facts of the social inspection be less serious than the discriminatory behavior of the employer. Finally, social inspectors can now call on third parties (not part of the social inspectorate) in the application of discrimination tests, which was not the case previously. For example, external individuals could now be asked to fictitiously apply to companies suspected of discrimination. In view of all these legislative changes, employers can therefore expect to receive more mystery calls from social inspectors or third parties to detect discriminatory behavior on the labor market.