Discrimination involves distinguishing, separating, isolating, or treating a person differently based on criteria such as ethnic or social origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious, philosophical, or political beliefs or affiliations, physical or mental characteristics (disability, age, genetic traits, pregnancy, breastfeeding), etc.

It can manifest through words, jokes, and/or actions that result in isolation, humiliation, disadvantage, or endangerment of the person concerned.

Discrimination affects every member of the University. Its consequences can manifest in various ways: biases in evaluations, difficulty obtaining assistance and services, limited access to documentary resources and education, wage or hiring discrimination, promotion processes, allocated means and resources, etc.

Legal and Ethical Framework

In accordance with its code of ethics and professional conduct, UNIGE promotes an equal and inclusive working and studying environment, free from all forms of discrimination. The University ensures that individuals are treated "fairly and respectfully, regardless of their assignments, responsibilities, or hierarchical positions." These ethical principles are part of a broader legal framework, including the University Law (LU), which explicitly prohibits all forms of direct or indirect discrimination based on personal characteristics. The cantonal law on equality and the fight against discrimination also aims to prevent, stop, and remedy the consequences of discrimination. (LED and LED-Genre, 2023)

The University owes special protection to individuals in vulnerable situations.


  • Remarks on a person's characteristics
  • Comments that are racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, misandrist, homophobic, transphobic, etc.
  • Jokes about a person's origin, appearance, or condition
  • Using derogatory terms
  • Continuing to address a person by their former name, first name, or pronoun after a change in name, first name, or pronoun
  • Imitating someone's disability or physical attribute
  • Imitating a foreign accent to characterize a group of people
  • Setting aside or treating the work of a person differently due to a physical, mental, ethnic, or belongingness, etc.
  • Intentionally isolating or sidelining a person because of an unusual feature


Narratives reconstructed from real events handled by the University of Geneva.


“When a colleague left her bag on a chair, the boss would say to be careful because there was an Arab in the office.”


“The professor frequently commented on the physical appearance of female students during oral exams.”


“She has a good record, but hiring her will cost us too much. We’ll have to make all sorts of accommodations.” (Overheard during a recruitment process regarding a person with a disability.)