The Equality Ombudsman is an independent Government agency established on 1 January 2009. The Ombudsman’s tasks include the supervision of compliance with the Discrimination Act and the promotion of equal rights and opportunities regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
The Equality Ombudsman – and independent government agency – was formed on 1 January 2009 when four previously existing anti-discrimination ombudsmen were merged into a new body. The Ombudsman was established by an Act of Parliament (Discrimination Act (2008:567)).
As set out in the Act (2008:568) concerning the Equality Ombudsman, the Ombudsman shall
• Supervise compliance with the Discrimination Act. To this end, the Ombudsman may, inter alia, receive and consider complaints from individuals asserting that they have been the victims of discrimination. Following such an investigation the Equality Ombudsman may bring a legal action for damages on behalf of the individual concerned.
• Work to ensure that discrimination associated with sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age does not occur in any areas of the life of Swedish Society.
• Work in other respects to promote equal rights and opportunities regardless of sex, transgender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion or other belief, disability, sexual orientation or age.
More specifically, the statutory responsibilities of the Equality Ombudsman include the provision of advice and other support so as to help enable anyone who has been subjected to discrimination to claim their rights. Within its sphere of competence, the Equality Ombudsman shall further
• Inform, educate, discuss and have other contacts with government agencies, enterprises, individuals and organizations.
• Follow international developments and have contacts with international organizations.
• Follow research and development work.
• Propose legislative amendments and other anti-discrimination measures to the Government.
• Initiate other appropriate measures.
The Equality Ombudsman is headed by a Director-General (the “Equality Ombudsman”). The Director-General acts on behalf of the agency and is solely responsible for its activities.
Pursuant to the Ordinance with instructions for the Equality Ombudsman, an Advisory Committee has been created. The task of the Advisory Committee is to provide the agency with advice and support, inter alia through the provision of expertise in discrimination issues and other matters of relevance to the Equality Ombudsman’s sphere of activities. The members of the Advisory Committee are appointed by the Equality Ombudsman.