On 14 October 2009 the “Right to Work Without Discrimination” campaign was launched with the placing of jumbo posters in five Croatian cities (Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek, Split and Pula) organised by Lesbian Group Kontra.
The campaign was part of the “Together against discrimination in the workplace” project, financed by the European Commission which was carried out by Lesbian Group Kontra in partnership with the M.I.A. Institute and the association Iskorak.
The photographs, which were taken before the campaign, pictured various workplaces (bank, dentists surgery, shop, cafe, school, theatre, etc), and were an integral part of the campaign’s posters (jumbo and B2), leaflets, diaries and calendars.
Stickers for the jumbo billboards with the slogans “We do not employ queers” and “We do not employ lesbians”, which were later placed with the aim of attracting attention to this problem, point to the homophobia present at a great number of employers in Croatia.
The original idea for the campaign was photographs of LGBT persons in various workplaces to promote the right to work. Unfortunately, because of the fear of discrimination within the LGBT population, we were not able to find a sufficient number of people who would pose for photographs with their name and occupation.
At the presentation of the campaign in a press conference we pointed out that in 2007, the agency Puls (an independent agency, commissioned by Kontra) conducted a survey in Croatia (N=800). 49% of those asked answered that homosexual persons should be banned from work in public services. Furthermore, 67% of those questioned stated that homosexual persons should be forbidden from working with children within the education system. Only 28% of those questioned did not display a negative attitude towards LGB persons.
For these reasons we decided to draw attention to the problem of discrimination in the workplace with which LGB persons are faced every day.
As part of the campaign there were actions of distributing campaign promotional material which contained information about LGB employment rights in five Croatian cities – Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek, Split and Pula.
The “Right to Work Without Discrimination” campaign ended on 12 November 2009 with a press conference at the Centre for Human Rights and with the distribution of promotional material in the centre of Zagreb.
The campaign attracted widespread media interest, including reporting on actions in certain towns by the local media. A public debate was opened on the rights of LGBT employees which resulted in a greater amount of discrimination at the workplace reported to the associations compared to previous years.