Discrimination means disadvantaging persons or groups of persons on the basis of certain characteristics. Non-discrimination is defined as a human right and forms the basis for respectful cooperation. Companies, in particular, attach great importance to ensuring that all employees are treated equally.
Activities related to equal treatment are assigned to the “Diversity and Equal Opportunity” area of action, which is part of the Employees pillar of the REWE Group’s Sustainability Strategy.
GRI 406: Non-discrimination
The corporate culture of the REWE Group is characterised by a trusting and respectful relationship among customers, employees and business partners. This commitment is laid down in the company’s fundamental values. In addition, all employees and business partners are bound by the Guidelines on Sustainable Business Practices, which explicitly state that discrimination is prohibited: “We do not tolerate discrimination in the workplace on any grounds, whether it be gender, skin colour, religion, ethnic origin, age, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, social background or political opinion.” This applies to the recruitment of new employees, to employees in existing employment relationships and to business partners.
All sales lines have contact persons to whom employees can turn in the event of discrimination. These contacts can be found, for example, in the Compliance department, on the works council as well as in the di.to network (different together; for more information, see the section Diversity and Equal Opportunity). Employees can also approach their managers or the HR department. Any reports of discrimination are followed up thoroughly, with confidential treatment guaranteed as a matter of course. Personal conversations are held with the affected employees, and the works council is involved.
Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken
The REWE Group consistently investigates all reports of discrimination and takes disciplinary action and, where appropriate, personnel measures if they are found to be true. At present, cases of discrimination are not recorded centrally within the group of companies in Germany, but the regional contact persons take all necessary measures.
In Austria, 19 employees consulted their contact partners in the works council or the HR department regarding sexual discrimination. In two cases, the perpetrator was a customer, with one case reported to the police. There were nine internal cases where the discriminators were dismissed; the remaining cases resulted in transfers and warnings. One incident of discrimination was on religious grounds and one on the grounds of sexual orientation. Three other cases could not be classified as discrimination or sexual harassment.
The REWE Group in Austria launched a campaign that translates to “Sexual Harassment and Discrimination – NO thanks!”, which is designed to inform employees about their options in response to such incidents. The campaign includes a poster that was sent to all stores and locations as well as accompanying information material. A workshop on the topic of sexual harassment and discrimination was held for selected works council members in cooperation with the Ombud for Equal Treatment. Specially trained staff members are available to assist affected persons in the company – whether through anonymous conversations or by actively taking action. In addition, the works council provides information on the topic of “Non-discrimination – no opportunity for discrimination” in a brochure. In 2021, the REWE Group in Austria introduced a new e-learning course on the topic of sexual harassment, which is mandatory for all managers and recommended for employees.