Enhancing Diversity and fighting against Discrimination

Case studies

The use of case studies is a valuable pedagogical and analytical tool used mostly in the training programme to gain a clear understanding of situations of discrimination that migrants and professionals could encounter.
The case studies are examples of real life situations linked to discrimination faced by young graduate migrants and low-qualified migrant women. There are different nuances and levels of discrimination that can be exemplified in these situations: they can show direct, indirect and systemic discrimination, they can highlight acts that can obviously be qualified as illegal but also, cases where people simply sense unequal treatment and/or where they develop defensive attitudes to prevent acts of discrimination. Throughout, it is essential to highlight that discrimination can not only be explained through the law but also how its cause can often be explained sociologically or historically. Given that discrimination is a catalyst of exclusion and reduction of well-being, it is essential that that the proposed solutions to these case studies take a capacity building approach. Finally, these case studies can be presented through a problem-solving approach:

  1. Identify the problem,
  2. Identify possible plans,
  3. Make hypothesis (what could happen if…),
  4. Define the strategy, and when possible,
  5. Measure the strategy’s results.

Trainers and facilitators are advised to collect these case studies prior to the session, through interviews with the relevant actors, or during the preliminary sessions, through discussion with the participants (“can you give an example of discrimination faced by a person you met in the framework of your professional activity?”). These cases can then be used to propose possible solutions and methods to overcome the acts of discrimination.


1) A young graduate migrant’s job interview
C. is a young man from Mali, who graduated in electronic engineering in France. During a job interview, an employer asked him about his family and affective environment. The employer explained to C. his doubts about C.’s stability in the company, because of his personal relationships in his country of origin. You are a job counsellor specialised in supporting young executives. During an assessment interview, C. explains you what happened in this interview.

  • In your opinion, is this a well-conducted job interview?
  • Which is your reaction when C. tells you about this experience?
  • Which is your role/what can you do in this situation?

Key-topics to discuss with the group: what a well-conducted job interview involves, deconstructing the prejudice of migrants’ instability, helping job-seekers to prepare answers to such questions, possible ways of investigating the company’s hiring procedures…

2) The professional career of a young immigrant mother
V. is a young Bolivian woman, who graduated from a Business School. She met big difficulties in her job search. She believes that her foreign nationality and her status of young single mother dissuade her potential employers. After a year of unsuccessful searches, she obtained a temporary contract as an administrative assistant in a SME. In order to increase her chances of getting the job, she hid her status as a mother during the job interview and afterwards, from her supervisor and colleagues. Once her temporary contract ended, the company offered her a permanent contract and asked her to prepare the necessary administrative documents, including a social security certificate. V. asks the Social Security office to erase the references to her child in the certificate. You are the staff representative in this company and V. tells you about this situation.

  • In your opinion, are there discrimination issues in this situation?
  • What is your reaction to this story?
  • What is your role/What can you do in this situation?

Key-topics to discuss with the group: discrimination and downgrade, psychological effects and self-presentation strategies coming from an experience of discrimination and exclusion, private life and job interviews, how to support workers’ access rights without exposing them directly…


Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded
with support from the European Commission.
Theses publications reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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