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Deutsche Bahn going nowhere with 'gender-neutral' ruling. Photo supplied

Deutsche Bahn sentenced for gender ‘mistake’

In future, Deutsche Bahn (DB) will no longer be allowed to address its customers as "Mr" and "Mrs", but must henceforth offer a "gender-neutral" address when booking tickets on the internet. The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court has ordered the railway to do so. The complaint was filed by a person who does not classify himself as either female or male.

Published: June 27, 2022, 11:29 am

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    The court ruled that the railway company had to refrain from “discriminating against the plaintiff of non-binary gender affiliation [sic] by compelling him or her to address the company as Mr or Ms when using its services” from 1 January 2023.

    Since the online booking system is not only aimed at the plaintiff, the railway must now change it, as a spokeswoman for the Higher Regional Court (OLG) announced. The railway was given until the end of the year to do so. In contrast, the ruling must be implemented immediately with regard to the issuing of tickets at the counter, letters from the customer service, advertising and stored data. Moreover, the ruling cannot be appealed.

    According to the ruling, Deutsche Bahn must also immediately change its individual communication with the plaintiff “person”. Compensation of 1000 euros was demanded because the person had suffered damage as a result of the violation of the prohibition of discrimination.

    The court reasoned he had experienced “the attribution of masculinity” as an attack on his own person, which led to significant psychological stress.

    The case in dispute concerned the booking of a ticket from Berlin to Braunschweig via the internet. Both during registration and purchase, there was only the choice of “Mr” or “Ms”. Without this assignment, it was not possible to buy a ticket. The person addressed as “Mr” had then filed a complaint for discrimination.

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