General information on topic

The occupational safety and health authorities monitor compliance with the minimum terms and conditions of employment at all workplaces. The occupational safety and health authorities do not, however, take action on an employee’s behalf or provide legal assistance in a court case.

Poor language skills may expose an employee to occupational discrimination

Foreign workers may be at a disadvantage in finding out about Finland’s employment legislation or practices because of ignorance or poor language skills. Foreign workers are often also less able to manage their own affairs in this respect and are thus potentially exposed to occupational discrimination.

Information about the minimum terms and conditions of employment: Employment relationship.

Information about confirming the right to work: Foreign employee.

Human trafficking

Human trafficking includes forced labour where victims are misled or compelled by exploiting their dependent status or vulnerability into working in circumstances degrading human dignity. The victims of work-related human trafficking are commonly foreign workers. Indeed, extortionate work discrimination is very similar in its essential elements to human trafficking. If workers are forced to work in unreasonable circumstances with no regard for occupational safety and health or in violation of human dignity, they may be considered victims of human trafficking.

The occupational safety and health authorities are not competent to deal with human trafficking, as that is an offence to be investigated by the police. Many of the cases of extortionate work discrimination uncovered by the occupational safety and health authorities may be linked to human trafficking.

Assistance system for victims of human trafficking

What the occupational safety and health authorities can do for any victims of human trafficking found through workplace surveys or otherwise is to refer them to the assistance system for victims of human trafficking. If necessary, the occupational safety and health authorities will submit an application to the assistance system on behalf of the victim. Referral to the assistance system always requires the consent of the victim.

Further information: Human trafficking. Finland’s national assistance system for victims of human trafficking.