The German Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities Act (BGG)

The BGG only applies at federal level. In order to eliminate or prevent discrimination against people with disabilities in the individual Länder, the Länder have their own laws.

The “Verbandsklagerecht” is provided in § 15 BGG.

Accordingly, recognized associations may bring an action, even if they are not themselves concerned by the issue in their own rights and also no other legal action is brought by a specifically concerned person. Thus, no individual impairment is required to file a law suit.

Actions brought by associations are directed only to the determination of an unlawful act - the infringement of a provision listed in § 15 BGG.

Object and purpose of the action

The BGG places particular demands on the content and purpose of the action.  A legal complaint by an assosiation is only possible if public authorities violate the requirement of accessibility, the provisions of federal law on the use of sign language or other suitable communication aids.

§ 7 BGG enumerates the different public authorities.

Procedural requirements

An action is only admissible if a measure affects a statutory task of an association. This means that the association must also be active in the area in which the occurring problem is settled. In addition, associations cannot take action against measures, which have already been reviewed by social or administrative courts. Furthermore, because of their subordination, an action by an association will only be considered if the case is of general interest. This is the case, if there are a large number of similar cases and a decision could lead to a legal precedent.

Qualified organisations

In order for an association to be allowed to file a complaint, it has to be registered as “recognized organisation” in the BGG list (see § 15 BGG).

The recognition takes place by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BAMS).

The Advisory Council for the Interests of Disabled Citizens proposes which associations shall be recognized and the BAMS then decides whom to recognize. The BAMS is, however, not obliged to grant recognition. 

Associations shall be granted recognition if:

  • According to its statutes, supports the interests of people with disabilities, not only on a temporary basis,
  • According to the composition of its members or member associations, be appointed to represent interests of persons with disabilities at the federal level,
  • At the time of recognition, exist for at least three years,
  • Ensure that tasks are properly completed.
© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2018