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Jobs to renting: Who do you lodge official complaints with in Switzerland?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Jobs to renting: Who do you lodge official complaints with in Switzerland?
In case of legitimate grievances, you can file your complaints online. Photo: Pixabay

Most people don’t encounter any major problems in the way they are treated in Switzerland. But if that is not your case, you have a right to seek recourse.

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Swiss law mandates fairness and equality in how its residents are treated in public and private sphere.

This means that nobody, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or religion, should put up with any kind of abusive or unjust behaviour.

But if you encounter such treatment nevertheless, you can lodge official complaints.

Employment

If you are a victim of inappropriate behaviour at your workplace — for instance, bullying, sexual harassment, or any other practices that are either unlawful or unacceptable — you should not remain silent.

The first step is to take your case to the Human Resources department, whose personnel is trained in handling, and resolving, conflicts.

If that doesn’t help, other recourses are available as well.

For instance, if you are represented by a union or a professional association, you should take your grievances there.

Hopefully, you will not need to go any further but if you do, your last resort would be legal action, which would start with your local district court and go to higher courts from there, if necessary.

READ ALSO: What you should know about Switzerland's courts 

Most disputes, however, are resolved through other means, like mediation, and don’t end up in court.

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Racial discrimination

If you feel that your employer or co-workers are discriminating against you based on your nationality, ethnicity, or religion, you can take one more step in addition to the ones mentioned above.

You can report racially-based incidents to the Federal Commission Against Racism  (FCR) through their online platform.

Housing

Most complaints you may have concerning your rented dwellings can be resolved (hopefully amicably) with your landlord or the management agency.

If that doesn’t work, however, you can turn to your canton’s conciliation authority — for instance, Schlichtungsbehörden in Zurich, Staatliche Schlichtungsstelle für Mietstreitigkeiten in Basel, Commission de conciliation en matière de baux et loyers in Geneva, and Conciliation en matière de bail à loyer immobilier in Vaud. 

Also, tenants’ associations in your linguistic region may be able to help out:

Mieterinnen- und Mieterverband Deutschschweiz

Association suisse des locataires ASLOCA

Associazione Svizzera Inquilini

If you suspect that your landlord is discriminating you on the basis of your nationality, ethnic background or religion, you can take the same steps as the ones described above in case of employment — report it to  the FCR.

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Insurance disputes

If you file a claim for reimbursement with any of your insurance providers, but they reject it for what you consider to be an invalid or arbitrary reason, you have a right to dispute this decision.

You can file a complaint with the office of theThe Swiss Ombudsman of Private Insurance.

Its team of attorneys will review your case and get you the refund — if it is found to be justified.

Problems with your bank

If you are in a dispute with your financial institution which cannot be resolved amicably, you have two solutions.

One, to take your money out and find a friendlier bank.

Or two, just as is the case with the insurance disputes (above), you can seek resolution from the Banking Ombudsman

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