The fines for marginalizing or excluding will be applied, however, immediately: the day after the BOE publishes the law that Congress approved this Thursday
The Government has a maximum of six months to establish, equip and start up the Independent Authority for Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination. It is the body that must lead the whole country in the persecution against the marginalization or exclusion of citizens in their day-to-day life, in employment, housing, school, health, police stations and courts, the digital world or in access to public and private premises.
The fight against discrimination and the imposition of harsh sanctions on those who harass or marginalize a person because of their place of origin, ethnicity, age, sex, ideas, religion, sexual orientation, health status or socioeconomic situation is an obligation of the administration competent in each case. However, this special commissioner will monitor, act and push so that no one is profiled or looks the other way in the face of rights violations – as is often the case today – and so that the victims have the guidance and support they need so that they dare to take the step of the complaint.
The independent authority will be an autonomous body chaired by a personality of recognized prestige in the fight against discrimination, sufficiently respected so that the great asset of the institution is the 'auctoritas' of the person who leads it. Very similar in design to the Ombudsman.
Its functions, in addition to receiving and processing the complaints and claims of those discriminated against, advising and protecting them, will be to investigate these violations (both ex officio and on demand), demand that the administrations sanction these behaviours, report cases to the Prosecution and representation of victims before the courts. It will also act as a mediation and conciliation body for the resolution of the dispute if both parties authorize it, issuing a mandatory ruling and putting an end to the administrative procedure.
The law of equal treatment and non-discrimination, better known as the 'Zerolo law' -this Thursday it was definitively approved in the plenary session of Congress-, orders the Executive to have this commissioner equipped with means and personnel at the latest by the end of this year.
The future president will be proposed by the Government to Congress, but it will be the Lower House, after the deputies examine his suitability, who must approve the candidate. If he rejects it, the Executive has three months to send him another name.
The idea is that the chosen person exercises his position with independence and autonomy, even from those who appointed him. Approval is by absolute majority (which requires broad agreement) and the five-year term will not be renewable, in order to avoid pressure for re-election. With the same purpose, it can only be terminated for appraised reasons, which avoid discretion. There is only room for his resignation or termination due to incompatibility, permanent incapacity, final conviction for intentional crime or serious breach of his duties.
However, the months of waiting for the commissioner will not stop the application of the law, which will enter into force in its entirety immediately: the day after it is published by the BOE, which will be no later than next week. The competent administrations will apply the sanctions (of up to 150,000 euros), which may also be accompanied in very serious offenses by temporary closures and loss of subsidies or contracts. These punishments will only apply to new files.